Puerto Rico's Plans to Reform
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- February 16, 2019
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“Roads still in poor conditions need to be rebuilt … some homes in communities like Jájome still have blue tarps,” says Puerto Rican community leader, Ramon Otero. Nearly a year and a half after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, the people of Puerto Rico are still struggling to rebuild. Island communities, services and businesses continue to do their part to make the area livable again. The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) continues to work on repairs but overall it has been a slow recovery. Challenges to rebuild on the island are compounded by Puerto Rico’s ongoing financial crisis. Not to mention recent accusations by a U.S. appeals court that the board overseeing Puerto Rico’s public finances was illegally appointed.
Meeting the challenge, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has put forward a plan to reform electricity access on the island. Puerto Rico’s electric grid would be divided into eight minigrids that could run independently of one another in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. The minigrids would each have solar panels, battery storage and some natural gas and could contain separate microgrids. The 20-year plan calls for about $5.6 billion in capital investments, mainly for up to 1,200 MW of solar power and 1,100 MW of battery storage, much of it within the first four years of the plan. The Sierra Club de Puerto Rico has celebrated the movement towards renewable energy, although the organization is still against the planned privatization of PREPA.