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Study: Puerto Rico should go solar to meet clean energy goal

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A US authorities examine decided that there’s little room on the island for giant photo voltaic farms or wind mills, Puerto Rico ought to goal to satisfy its clear power objectives by way of to put in photo voltaic panels on all appropriate roofs, together with these on airports, brownfields and industrial websites.

The 2-year examine started final yr after the US pledged to assist modernize Puerto Rico’s crumbling energy grid by trying on the island’s wind and photo voltaic assets, land availability and electrical energy use. . Authorities officers have pledged to extend from 3% to 40% renewable power by 2025, and 60% by 2040.

“That is extraordinarily essential,” mentioned Jennifer Granholm, US Power Secretary, throughout a webinar Monday to speak concerning the preliminary outcomes of the examine. “We got down to minimize forms and switch federal funding.”

Amid the specter of highly effective hurricanes, Puerto Rico suffers frequent energy outages blamed on a crumbling energy grid after many years of neglect and lack of upkeep. The island’s present electrical energy technology system is 97% fossil gasoline based mostly.

Greater than 600 contributors took half within the webinar, together with photo voltaic corporations wanting to get a stake in future initiatives and disaffected Puerto Ricans questioning the truth of implementing photo voltaic panels on an island the place greater than 40% of the inhabitants lives beneath the poverty line.

“These methods are very costly, and in reality nearly nobody will pay for them as a result of it’s a debt that can be inconceivable to pay for a few years,” wrote a participant named Wanda Trinidad within the chat.

One other, Wanda Ríos, says that whereas the federal government helps some companies swap to renewable power, she hasn’t gotten a solution about how communities can get monetary assist.

“We wish to have a photo voltaic neighborhood, however there’s (no) program out there for us!” he wrote.

A prime US Division of Power official mentioned the $1 billion accredited by the US Congress in December to assist restore Puerto Rico’s grid isn’t sufficient. US President Joe Biden is asking for $3 billion, and federal lawmakers are asking for $5 billion for photo voltaic rooftop panels and storage installations.

The continuing examine additionally discovered that Puerto Rico’s transmission system can accommodate anticipated development in renewables over the following 5 to fifteen years, however upgrades are wanted in the long run.

As well as, the examine simulated storms and located that small renewable assets unfold out are prone to get well quicker than the present system of small and enormous energy vegetation. Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s energy grid in September 2017 when it hit the island as a Class 4 storm and Hurricane Fiona hit it final September as a Class 1 storm. Each storms prompted island-wide blackouts.

“The urgency solely elevated after Hurricane Fiona…prompted a lot harm,” mentioned Granholm, who is anticipated to go to Puerto Rico this month.

This yr, scientists anticipate to review the potential of utilizing marine, hydropower and pumped storage hydropower as a further supply of renewable power, amongst different issues. Scientists additionally say that preliminary local weather threat assessments present a rise in temperature of as much as 2 levels Celsius and a 20% lower in precipitation by 2055.

The ultimate examine, funded by the Federal Emergency Administration Company, can be revealed by the tip of the yr.

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