In September 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the islands of Puerto Rico, causing the collapse of the power grid, which lead to widespread destruction and thousands of deaths.
With lingering damage remaining, and a deeply troubled electricity sector, Puerto Rico now stands at a crossroads.
Despite a new Puerto Rican energy policy being announced earlier this year – one that outlines a pathway to increased renewable energy adoption, through a sustainable transition process – a prosperous, low-carbon future for Puerto Rico has not yet been secured.
Unfortunately, recent projects expedited by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the Public-Private Partnership (P3) Authority of the Puerto Rican government risk undermining the goals established in the new policy.
In the Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI) recently released paper, ‘Growing Risks to the Implementation of Puerto Rico’s Energy Transformation’, RMI call on civil society to ensure that expedited projects keep in alignment with energy policy and under strict regulatory oversight.
According to RMI, “The expedited projects happening today in Puerto Rico weaken trust in the energy transition’s key institutions. In the absence of trusted institutions providing oversight and transparency, energy projects that maximise public benefits to Puerto Rico will remain unlikely and expensive due to perceived investor risks."
RMI's call-to-action is for concerted and informed pressure from civil society, ensuring that all electricity sector projects comply with approved processes and benefit the public. “The future of Puerto Rico can be cost-effective, increasingly and predominantly renewable, resilient to future storms, and locally driven,” states the RMI report.
Learn more about RMI’s Islands Energy programme – working to accelerate the transition of island economies from a heavy dependence on fossil fuels to a diverse platform of clean energy and energy efficiency