Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO

Acquired by the United States from Spain in 1898, Puerto Rico became ratified as a Commonwealth in 1952With a population of 3.2 million  people, Puerto Rico has more people than 21 U.S. states and a territory of 3,425 square miles, making it slightly bigger than Connecticut. Located in the Carribean, Puerto Rico is made up of 143 small islands, islets, and cays with one main central island bearing its name. Mostly mountainous, except for the coastal lowlands and the karst region in the north, which consists of formations of rugged limestone like sinkholes, caves, cliffs, and haystack hills, Puerto Rico is decidedly a rainforest, getting more than 100 billion gallons a year of rainfall, and providing a home to many species found nowhere else on earth. Among the territory’s native fauna is its unofficial mascot, the coquí tree frog, a tiny creature that makes a distinctive high-pitched chirping noise heard throughout Puerto Rico.

Climate change has been especially harsh on Puerto Rico. As changes to the climate have exacerbated hurricanes, they have hit Puerto Rico extremely hard. Hurricane Maria, sweeping through Puerto Rico in September of 2017, brought as much rainfall in one day as the island usually sees in three months. It was the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, costing the island as much as $139 billion as it struggled to recover from all the damage. 

Sea level rise is another imminent danger to Puerto Rico, with 85% of its population living within five miles of a coast. Puerto Rico’s seas are about half a foot higher since 1880 when records began, and the rate of the growth is only accelerating, with scientists projecting 22 inches by 2060. This trend has made ports, roads, and other infrastructure extremely vulnerable. Sea level rise combined with storm surges cause flooding, which has a direct effect on Puerto Rican daily life as well as on tourism (making up 8% of the island’s economy).

Climate change is also responsible for the collapse of the insect population in Puerto Rico’s rainforests, causing devastating effects to the island’s ecosystems. Insects are a vital food source for many of Puerto Rico’s creatures, including the coqui frog. As the creatures that eat insects die, their predators lose their food source as well, causing reverberations through the food chain. Insects are also vital to plant pollination, so loss of insects additionally harms the flora and fauna of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico’s energy customers currently face high prices as they primarily import fossil fuels for power generation. When extreme weather like hurricanes impede the fuel supply, it leaves Puerto Ricans helpless without its own generating power. This makes it especially vital for Puerto Rico to switch over to renewables generated locally. But, the island is on its way. After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has been rebuilding its power grid to transition to clean resources, including the largest solar and energy storage buildout in the United StatesIn 2019, they adopted the Puerto Rico Public Policy Act, setting a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050, with interim goals of 40% renewables by 2025 and 50% by 2040. In August 2020, the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) moved forward in the direction of renewables, directing the procurement of at least 3.5 GW of solar and 1.36 GW of battery storage by 2025.

Even earlier, in 2013, the Puerto Rican government passed an executive order instructing their Energy Affairs Administration to develop a scientific study quantifying the amount of greenhouse gases generated in Puerto Rico within one year of its enactment. Based on this study, local government agencies would be able to develop an integrated and sustainable strategy aimed at reducing and removing a significant amount of these pollutants.

And earlier still, in 2010, Puerto Rico enacted a policy to introduce the use of a renewable energy credit system as a mechanism to stimulate the production of renewable energy within the territory. However, Puerto Rico has yet to develop an operational emission trading scheme to engage in the emissions trading market.

The Puerto Rican government is also trying its best to promote green tourism, even launching a Green Tourism mobile application, which promotes the areas protected by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. 

As of 2019, Puerto Rico used petroleum to fuel 40% of the island’s total electricity generation, natural gas 39%, coal 18%, and renewables 2.3%. Of those renewables, solar and wind made up two-fifths each — Puerto Rico is home to both the largest solar photovoltaic facility and the largest wind farm in the Caribbean. Though Puerto Rico’s goal of 40% renewable energy seems far off, it’s worth mentioning that solar is growing extremely fast on the island, with their Electric Power Authority planning to add up to 1,800 megawatts of solar power and 920 megawatts of additional battery storage between 2019 and 2025. It has also signed a separate agreement to add 201 megawatts of solar, wind, and landfill gas-generated energy to the power grid.

Puerto Rico’s commercial sector consumes nearly half of the island’s electricity, and the residential sector consumes just above one-third. The industrial sector including agriculture accounts for slightly over one-eighth of power consumption, and the rest of the island’s power is used for public purposes like street lighting. Per capita, Puerto Rico’s electricity consumption is typically less than half of the average in the 50 states.

Puerto Rico has joined twenty four states, committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CURRENT NEWS

Warm Winter Days Boosted by Climate Change in U.S. Cities

03/07/24
Carbon pollution drove abnormal warmth this winter. New Climate Central analysis shows which U.S. cities, states, and regions felt the strongest influence of climate change on daily average temperatures between December 2023 and February 2024.
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Exploring the Impact of Record-High Temperatures on Puerto Rico

02/28/24
In September 2023, Puerto Rico experienced unprecedented heatwaves, with record-high temperatures making it the hottest month recorded on the island. This alarming phenomenon has raised concerns about the future of life on the island and…
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DOE details 100% renewables plan for Puerto Rico

By Jack Quinn 02/08/24
Puerto Rico can reach 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2050, but the path there "will not be fast or easy," according to a new Department of Energy report.
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Data from centuries-old sea creatures suggest the world is warming faster than scientists thought

By Rachel Ramirez 02/05/24
Using sponges collected off the coast of Puerto Rico in the eastern Caribbean, scientists have calculated 300 years of ocean temperatures and concluded the world has already overshot one crucial global warming limit and is…
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Caribbean Matters: The severe impact of climate change on the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

By Denise Oliver Velez 01/11/24
While many media outlets only seem to pay attention to the U.S. Virgin Islands these days when discussing Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous private island of Little St. James and Puerto Rico when it comes to Bad…
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Climate change stresses physical and mental health in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

By Pearl Marvell 01/04/24
Puerto Rico has seen an alarming increase in deaths over the last two years caused by cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and mental health conditions like overdose, alcoholism, and dementia. There are a number of reasons for…
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US DOE picks three solar companies to install rooftop solar and batteries in Puerto Rico

By Simon Yuen 11/08/23
US residential solar companies Sunrun, Sunnova and power product supplier Generac have been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to install rooftop solar and battery storage systems for vulnerable households in Puerto Rico.
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With a Crippled Energy Grid, Puerto Rico Turned to Solar Power. (Spoiler: It’s Working)

By Dan Avery 09/02/23
On Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico and devastated the island's aging and inefficient power grid.
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Applying lessons from Puerto Rico’s climate challenges to Minnesota

By Ava Kian 08/31/23
A group of Minnesotans composed of environmental and social advocates and some elected officials recently traveled to Puerto Rico with the hopes of learning different ways to support communities going through the effects of climate…
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Environmentalists sue Puerto Rican government over location of renewable energy projects

By Danica Coto 08/15/23
Activists and environmental groups including the Sierra Club sued Puerto Rico’s government Monday over the planned location of dozens of renewable energy projects meant to ease the U.S. territory’s power woes.
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Climate migrants find a home in the Great Lakes Region

By Kristen Pope 07/21/23
A massive Category 5 hurricane, Hurricane Maria, was bearing down on Puerto Rico. In Buffalo, New York, people watching the news were worried. Many had loved ones on the island, and many had spent time…
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She’s on a Mission From God: Suing Big Oil for Climate Damages

By David Gelles 07/19/23
Missy Sims carefully picked her way through a field of ruined tombs in central Puerto Rico, in a cemetery where walls of water from Hurricane Maria had smashed open some coffins and sent others careering…
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Puerto Rico’s 100% Renewables Expansion Can Spare Farmland, Study Finds

02/23/24
Up to 94% of the energy Puerto Rico consumes—which is 70 times what it generates—is provided by imported fossil fuels, but the island has enough wind and solar potential to exceed its projected annual energy…

Can Puerto Rico Rebuild Its Electric Utility?

02/13/24
Puerto Rico’s economy is starting to rebound. After officially exiting bankruptcy in 2022, Puerto Rico’s economy is on track to grow by 1.8 percent in 2024. One obstacle, however, is the ongoing effort to restructure…

Fossil fuel-dependent Puerto Rico can fully shift to clean energy by 2050, a federal study says

02/08/24
As Puerto Rico struggles with chronic power outages and a decaying electric grid, federal officials believe the U.S. territory can fully shift from fossil fuels to clean energy by 2050, according to a report Wednesday…

Puerto Rico can transition to 100% renewables by 2050 but costs ‘will be significant’: DOE

02/07/24
Puerto Rico can meet 100% of its projected electricity needs with renewable energy by 2050, in compliance with the territory’s Act 17 law, the U.S. Department of Energy concluded in a two-year study published Wednesday.…

As states slash rooftop solar incentives, Puerto Rico extends them

02/06/24
As states across the country roll back how much they pay rooftop-solar owners for the surplus electricity they send back to the grid, Puerto Rico is bucking the trend, protecting its generous solar credits until…

Nellie Gorbea Named CEO of Puerto Rico Green Energy Trust

02/05/24
Former Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea has been tapped to head a green energy non-profit in Puerto Rico.

Shining light on energy inequity in Puerto Rico

01/16/24
When Eduardo Lugo hears trucks rumble by his home in southwestern Puerto Rico, there is a moment when he wonders if it’s the sound an earthquake makes just before it hits. An associate professor of…

2023 Year in Review: Advancing Puerto Rico’s Grid Recovery and Modernization

01/11/24
Natural disasters in recent memory have posed significant challenges to Puerto Rico’s electrical grid and the more than three million residents it serves. In September 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused most of the transmission…

Puerto Rican Advocates Pursue Community Control of Renewable Energy

01/10/24
It has been more than six years since Hurricane Maria devastated the archipelago of Puerto Rico, killing nearly 3,000. Power was not restored to everyone until 11 months after the storm. In its wake, a…

A Rooftop Solar System is the Solution for Puerto Rico

01/03/24
While most Puerto Ricans, relying on the electricity grid, lost power when Hurricane Fiona hit in 2022 — those with rooftop solar and battery storage did not lose access to electricity. Earthjustice is working on…

The Facts on DOE’s Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund

12/20/23
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF) is helping households access cheaper solar power and pay significantly less on their monthly energy bills with no upfront costs. Thanks to the…

The Fight for a Clean Energy Transition in Puerto Rico

12/20/23
In fact, rooftop solar panels have already proliferated in many communities throughout the archipelago with tremendous success. Federal funds authorized after Hurricane María hold out promise that all residences of Puerto Rico could be powered…

U.S. Department of Energy: $13 Million to Connect More Puerto Rico Communities with Residential Solar & Battery Storage

12/05/23
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a slate of community groups and nonprofits selected to receive up to $13.85 million to help vulnerable households in Puerto Rico obtain residential solar and battery storage…

Puerto Rico’s Solar Microgrids Illuminate Path to Energy Security

06/16/23
For two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Lucy's Pizza was the only restaurant open in the central mountain town of Adjuntas. The town's 18,000 residents, like those on the rest of…

Tesla Energy working to launch virtual power plant in Puerto Rico

06/15/23
Tesla Energy is working to launch a virtual power plant (VPP) in Puerto Rico, Senior Vice President of Energy Engineering and Powertrain Drew Baglino said.

Community-Powered Solar in Puerto Rico

06/13/23
For two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Lucy’s Pizza was the only restaurant open in the central mountain town of Adjuntas. The town’s 18,000 residents, like those on the rest of…

FEMA funds $97 million Puerto Rico microgrid with 15 MW solar, 12 MWh storage

06/05/23
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is funding a $97 million microgrid project for Puerto Rico’s island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra. The project will include 15.5 MW of solar, 11.6 MWh of storage, and…

Puerto Rico’s power play: How should billions of energy dollars be spent

05/16/23
The federal government has directed billions of dollars to repair Puerto Rico’s troubled energy grid. But not everyone’s happy with how it’s being spent.

What could $1 billion do for Puerto Rico’s energy resilience? Residents have ideas.

04/21/23
When the electricity goes out in Puerto Rico, food and medicines spoil. Dialysis machines stop running. Water doesn’t flow, businesses shutter, and schools close. And while the energy grid’s fragility attracts national attention when a…

Puerto Rico governor unveils solar energy plans in address

03/28/23
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced new solar energy initiatives on Tuesday during his annual state of the territory address, a speech viewed by many as critical as he fights plummeting ratings amid growing discontent over costly…

Green hydrogen ‘not a solution’ for Puerto Rico, claims NGO

03/28/23
Investment in green hydrogen for power production “is not a solution that makes sense for Puerto Rico in the near or mid-term,” according to local NGO Cambio.

Why Puerto Ricans are bracing for more blackouts

03/28/23
Puerto Rico’s brittle power grid emerged from the winter months with no major disruptions after a devastating hurricane knocked out electricity across the territory last year. But residents worry their good fortune might not last…

Biden Sends Natural Gas Generators to Puerto Rico for Resiliency

03/23/23
Puerto Rico received three portable natural gas generators from the U.S. federal government that will supply 150 megawatts of emergency power to the island’s electricity grid. The three natural gas generators are the first part…

First Community Solar Installation Goes Live In Puerto Rico

03/20/23
The people of Puerto Rico are suspicious of authority. In the words of an Alison Krauss song, they’ve been “put down, pushed around, apprehended, and led downtown” ever since Christopher Columbus first wrote to the…

In Puerto Rico, a Small Town Takes Climate Action Into Its Own Hands

03/20/23
In Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, thousands of local residents bearing flags and placards marched through the small town over the weekend

In Puerto Rico, advocates want the clean energy revolution to be local

03/17/23
The U.S. Department of Energy has committed $1 billion to develop solar energy in Puerto Rico, to help the island meet its goal of 100% renewables and to add resilience to a system plagued by…

Government releases $1 billion Puerto Rico energy resilience relief package

02/22/23
This week the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office released a Request for Information (RFI) to gather feedback from stakeholders in Puerto Rico on how to allocate $1 billion managed through the Puerto Rico…

NREL Study Shows Wind Energy Can Help Puerto Rico Achieve Its Clean Energy and Grid Reliability Goals

02/20/23
Puerto Rico is no stranger to the power of wind. Its location at the eastern edge of the Greater Antilles, where the Caribbean Sea meets the North Atlantic Ocean, puts the territory in the path…

Puerto Rico Has Big Plans For Renewables, But Can It Deliver?

02/16/23
Puerto Rico’s electrical grid was already woefully under-invested in and poorly maintained when the category 4 Hurricane Maria crashed into the island in September, 2017. The fallout from the storm was enormous, with thousands of…

U.S. Secretary of Energy Visits Community-based Solar Energy Project in Culebra, Puerto Rico

02/01/23
ennifer M. Granholm, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today visited one of 45 residences that have solar and battery storage systems in the island municipality of Culebra in Puerto Rico. These systems…

Puerto Rico Hands Control of its Power Plants to a Natural Gas Company

01/26/23
Puerto Rican authorities have hired a natural gas company to operate the island’s publicly-owned fleet of fossil fuel power plants, despite the commonwealth facing increasing pressure to rapidly transition its aging energy system to renewable…

Next Big Idea In Electricity: Subsea Cable From The Mainland To Puerto Rico

01/24/23
It is big. A big idea. Some of the world’s biggest energy and engineering companies are interested in it, as is the Department of Energy.

Solar Power Is Helping Some Puerto Rico Homes Avoid Hurricane Fiona Blackouts

09/20/22
“Thank you Casa Pueblo. My daughter was able to do her dialysis. We’re forever grateful,” wrote Nery Torres in Spanish on the sustainability nonprofit’s Facebook page, on Sept. 19, just days after Hurricane Fiona hit…

Puerto Ricans have built the largest renewable peaker plant in the world. Let’s use it.

By Javier Rua- Jovet 06/28/22
It’s no coincidence that this year’s gathering of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, or SEARUC, was held in San Juan. All eyes are on Puerto Rico’s fascinating story of innovation in resilient energy,…

Puerto Rico is going green. He’s helping

06/15/22
Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi (D) is racing to shore up his territory’s power grid ahead of the next hurricane. The island has been fortunate to have not suffered another major hurricane in the nearly…

Why Tiny Solar Projects Play an Outsized Role in Powering Puerto Rico

By Jim Wyss 05/31/22
On a given sunny day in Puerto Rico, more than 37,100 rooftop solar installations—mounted atop homes, gas stations, malls and hospitals—churn out 255 megawatts of electricity.

Puerto Rico Pledge for Climate Change

04/10/19
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced the Puerto Rico Pledge for Climate Change, a historic initiative that aims to combat climate change and create a more environmentally sustainable island.

KEY RESOURCES

Puerto Rico Territory Profile and Energy Estimates

10/18/21
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico consists of the easternmost islands of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Florida. Puerto Rico has no proved reserves or production of fossil fuels. The Commonwealth has…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Puerto Rico

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Puerto Rico experienced three tropical cyclones. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

SEPA and Puerto Rico

03/05/20
In September, 2017, Puerto Rico’s power grid was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria. SEPA welcomes the opportunity to help Puerto Rico design a power grid that takes advantage of the latest technologies and business…

Strengthening Puerto Rico’s energy system

02/28/20
Affordable, low-carbon electricity for healthier and more prosperous communities

Revitalize Puerto Rico

02/28/20
Assured Guaranty helps provide funding for public projects such as the construction of hospitals, schools, roads and bridges. We have done this in Puerto Rico and in cities and communities across America. Our goals are…

MORE NEWS

Climate Change Ravaging Livestock Across the Caribbean

By Elesha George and Others   06/14/23  
As we’ve seen, livestock farmers in Antigua and Barbuda are facing challenges as drought conditions persist, leading to downsizing of their operations. Insufficient rain caused by climate change is driving up temperatures and drying up…
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Extreme Heat Is Endangering Puerto Rico

By Josh Goldman   06/07/23  
Driven by a combination of an El Niño weather pattern, an intense heat dome, and the changing climate, much of Puerto Rico faced a heat index of over 100 degrees this week, with parts of…
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Puerto Rico Is so Hot This Week, It’s Astonishing Some Meteorologists

By Kristoffer Tigue   06/06/23  
Even on its coldest winter days, the Caribbean island and largest U.S. territory rarely sees daytime temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. But Puerto Rico is so hot this week that it’s baffling some weather experts,…
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How Will Puerto Rico’s Private Energy System Deal With Climate Change?

By Carlos Edill Berrios Polanco   05/11/23  
With the transfer of control over Puerto Rico‘s power distribution and transmission to the U.S.-Canadian firm LUMA Energy in 2021, and Puerto Rico’s power generation now in the hands of Genera PR, the islands’ once-public…
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Climate change could cause collapse of frog population in Puerto Rico

By Talker News   05/08/23  
Climate change could cause the collapse of a frog population in Puerto Rico, leaving the country’s ecosystems in catastrophe, warns a new study.
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IEEFA testifies on Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority $9 billion debt restructuring plan

By Tom Sanzillo   05/01/23  
A plan proposed to resolve the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) debt crisis is not feasible, IEEFA Director of Financial Analysis Tom Sanzillo said in April 28 testimony to the United States District Court…
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How a Puerto Rican community battles blackouts with solar power

By Anastasia Moloney   04/25/23  
When Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico and decimated the Caribbean island’s power grid five years ago, the lights stayed on in one building in the mountain town of Adjuntas.
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Who will save Puerto Rico’s beaches from rising seas, storms, and developers? The people.

By Pearl Marvell   04/25/23  
After Hurricane Maria, conflicts over public beach access on the island have become more complicated and frequent. And residents aren’t waiting for the government to step in — they’re banding together to protect their rights.
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The Power Of Water

04/20/23  
The water supply on the island of Puerto Rico is in a precarious state. A boom in industry on the island decades ago is siphoning, and in some cases contaminating, the precious groundwater. Environmental experts…
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Puerto Rico declares state of emergency on coastal erosion

By Danica Coto   04/12/23  
Puerto Rico’s governor declared a state of emergency on Tuesday to fight worsening coastal erosion across the U.S. territory that officials blame on climate change.
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Lawsuit Challenges FEMA Funding to Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Fossil Fuel-Dependent Electric Grid

04/11/23  
Conservation and community groups sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security today over their plans to rebuild Puerto Rico’s centralized electric grid back to the fossil fuel status quo instead…
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Biden Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm makes fourth trip to Puerto Rico in five months

By Gabe Kaminsky   03/29/23  
Energy Department Secretary Jennifer Granholm is under fire for making her fourth visit to Puerto Rico in five months. The frequency of the trips has led to claims of hypocrisy from a former top Trump…
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‘We’re Building Another Puerto Rico’: Communities Adapt to Climate Change

By Salome Ramirez   03/25/23  
In the densely forested mountains of central Puerto Rico, nonprofit Casa Pueblo has captured the world's attention for its efforts to turn the municipality of Adjuntas into the island-commonwealth’s first solar town. Residents call it…
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Reforesting Mangrove Trees Could Prove Key to Storm Defense in Puerto Rico

By Carlos Edill Berríos Polanco   03/20/23  
The sun shone brightly on a recent Saturday morning in Puerto Rico as a group of three dozen people grabbed mangrove roots from a bucket provided by organizers. Some of the planters were clad in…
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Privatized grid unlikely to save Puerto Rico ratepayers from disastrous debt restructuring plan

By Tom Sanzillo   03/13/23  
The latest financial restructuring plan for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) proposes borrowing $5.7 billion to pay off the utility’s legacy debt. The new debt would add an average of 4.4 cents/kilowatt-hour (kWh)…
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Eco-Anxiety Motivates Puerto Rico Activists to Defend Environment

By Carlos Edill Berríos Polanco   02/27/23  
With miles of beautiful beaches and the only tropical rainforest on U.S. territory, Puerto Rico is often touted as a paradise for vacationers. But for the people who live there, rampant development and the worsening…
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How Should Puerto Rico Invest its $1 Billion in Resilience Funds?

By Elisa Wood   02/27/23  
The case for microgrids in Puerto Rico became clear five years ago when Hurricane Maria shut down its entire grid and parts of the island had no power for 11 months. But the pace to…
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In Puerto Rican Town, New Community Microgrids Inspire a Parade

By Lisa Cohn   02/24/23  
In Adjuntas, Puerto Rico — where Hurricane Maria left some without power for a year — two soon-to-be community microgrids mean so much to the town, it plans to hold a parade to celebrate its…
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The Opportunity Project Tackles Challenges Specific to Puerto Rico, Including Supporting Children’s Mental Health and Renewable Energy

By Victoria Elizabeth Fine   02/16/23  
The Opportunity Project (TOP) wrapped up 2022 with a collection of new federal open data products produced by and for Puerto Rican communities.
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How atomic doomsday experiments, fuelled by Cold War fears, shaped then shook ecologists’ faith in self-healing nature

By Laura J Martin   02/14/23  
When Hurricane Fiona flooded regions of Puerto Rico with up to 30 inches of rain in September last year, the island was still recovering from hurricanes Irma and Maria, two catastrophic storms in 2017 during…
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Renewables vs. fuels? Puerto Rico faces a critical time to determine its energy future

By Nicole Acevedo   02/03/23  
There's no need for natural disasters or bad weather for Marta Rojas to lose access to electricity on any given day. "We have to become fortune tellers to be able to cook or to do…
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Puerto Rico debt deal costs too much, fixes too little and wastes money needed to rebuild grid

By Tom Sanzillo   02/02/23  
A plan to restructure the debt of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) would be a massive step backward, if approved in its current form.
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Big Oil Under Fire in Puerto Rico

01/27/23  
Sixteen municipalities in Puerto Rico sue big fossil fuel companies for damages from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The communities allege the fossil fuel companies learned their products would change the climate and intensify storms and…
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DOE and FEMA Release One-Year Progress Report on Joint Effort to Modernize Puerto Rico’s Grid With 100% Clean Energy

01/23/23  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today released a one-year progress report for the Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transition to 100% Renewable (PR100) Study. PR100, which launched…
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Puerto Rican Farmers Fight Climate Change That’s Destroying Them

By Maeve Sheehey   01/23/23  
Puerto Rico lost 80% of its coffee trees after Hurricane Maria. Just five years later, two more hurricanes threw a wrench in coffee farmers’ recovery.
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Solar energy could be key in Puerto Rico’s transition to 100% renewables, study says

By Jeff Brady   01/23/23  
It's becoming clearer how Puerto Rico might meet its goal of getting 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050.
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Puerto Ricans Expand the Scope of ‘American Art’ at the Whitney

By Holland Cotter   11/25/22  
For many North Americans, the lasting news image of Hurricane Maria, the monster storm that laid waste to Puerto Rico in 2017, wasn’t of the storm itself, but of a political photo-op that followed, when…
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Puerto Rico’s electricity crisis

By David Roberts   10/05/22  
A couple of weeks ago, Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico's southwest coast as a Category 1 storm. Even before the hurricane struck, the entire grid went down and the island was without power. Weeks later,…
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Biden pledges to transform Puerto Rico’s power system as thousands remain without power

By Robert Walton   10/04/22  
Despite significant restoration progress, more than 100,000 customers in Puerto Rico were still without power Tuesday, two weeks after Hurricane Fiona slammed the island with 80-mile-per-hour winds. LUMA Energy on Monday provided an update on…
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For Puerto Rico, the right hurricane recovery is renewable energy

By Eduardo Bhatia And Michael Liebman   09/27/22  
In Puerto Rico, energy is headline news every day — hurricane or not. Many days, it’s Gov. Pedro Pierluisi in the press talking about the challenges of the island’s energy system. Others, it’s rapper Bad…
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Even before Fiona, Puerto Rico’s power grid was poised for failure

By Joshua Partlow   09/19/22  
The hurricane winds that knocked out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico over the weekend encountered an electrical grid that experts liken to a house of cards: a fragile, decrepit, patchwork system running…
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Tropical Storm Fiona forms, soon to lash Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico

By Mathew Cappucci   09/15/22  
Tropical Storm Fiona, which formed Wednesday evening several hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles, is set to lash the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico with heavy rain, rough surf, coastal rip currents and strong…
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Why are some Puerto Ricans demanding the island cancel its contract with power company LUMA Energy?

By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech   09/10/22  
Over the last 13 months, Puerto Ricans have repeatedly taken to the streets to protest LUMA Energy, the private company that controls the island’s energy transmission and distribution, as frequent blackouts and high energy costs…
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How Puerto Rico could call on rooftop solar to avoid blackouts

By Maria Gallucci   08/16/22  
Puerto Rico’s troubled electric grid was recently thrust into the national spotlight yet again — not because of an islandwide blackout, but over blistering remarks made by one of the world’s biggest pop stars. Puerto…
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Puerto Ricans have built the largest renewable peaker plant in the world. Let’s use it.

By Javier Rua- Jovet   06/28/22  
It’s no coincidence that this year’s gathering of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, or SEARUC, was held in San Juan. All eyes are on Puerto Rico’s fascinating story of innovation in resilient energy,…
Read more

Why Tiny Solar Projects Play an Outsized Role in Powering Puerto Rico

By Jim Wyss   05/31/22  
On a given sunny day in Puerto Rico, more than 37,100 rooftop solar installations—mounted atop homes, gas stations, malls and hospitals—churn out 255 megawatts of electricity.
Read more

Puerto Rico Is Struggling to Meet Its Clean Energy Goals, Despite Biden’s Support

By Kristoffer Tigue   03/16/22  
After a year marked by major power outages, high-profile resignations by public officials and widespread protests in the streets of Puerto Rico, the Biden administration is responding to calls from residents to help the U.S.…
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Nearly $600,000 to Address Flooding in Several Towns

By FEMA   03/16/22  
The municipalities of Dorado, Yabucoa and Loíza are among the applicants for mitigation projects that are already in the design phase, to address flood risks in their communities. The proposals are for nearly $600,000 approved…
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In Puerto Rico, Flooding and Loss of Coastal Habitat Are Top Conservation Concerns

By Holly Binns and Yasmin Velez-Sanchez   03/16/22  
Puerto Rico’s residents say flooding, erosion, and loss of wetlands and other coastal habitats are among the most important threats the island’s government should prioritize in coastal resource planning, according to a survey by the…
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Puerto Rico Is Struggling to Meet Its Clean Energy Goals, Despite Biden’s Support

By Kristoffer Tigue   03/16/22  
After a year marked by major power outages, high-profile resignations by public officials and widespread protests in the streets of Puerto Rico, the Biden administration is responding to calls from residents to help the U.S.…
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Wood Mackenzie Partners With Puerto Rican Solar Foundation

By Johnna Crider   03/14/22  
Wood Mackenzie is partnering with the Let’s Share The Sun Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity that focuses on helping the poorest get access to electricity. The foundation uses solar energy as a solution to helping…
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IEEFA: Puerto Rico’s Governor cancels unaffordable electrical system debt restructuring agreement

By Tom Sanzillo   03/11/22  
After almost three years, the proposed debt restructuring agreement (RSA) for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has been cancelled. Pedro Pierluisi, the governor of Puerto Rico, announced on Tuesday his government is withdrawing…
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RECENT FLOODING HIGHLIGHTS PUERTO RICO’S CONTINUED VULNERABILITIES TO NATURAL DISASTERS

By Kaitlyn Sullivan   02/28/22  
In early February, Puerto Rico received heavy floods which caused landslides, school and road closures, and residents fearing for more natural disasters yet to hit the United States territory. Puerto Rico has suffered through considerable…
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On Puerto Rico’s Roofs, Renewable Energy Brings Employment for Women

By Ana Umpierre   02/23/22  
When Raquel Robledo, a retired agronomist, was invited to participate in a training program on renewable energy, she jumped at the chance. “I wasn’t sure I was going to get picked because of my age.…
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The Devastating Costs of Puerto Rico’s Solar “Farms”

By Ruth Santiago , Hilda Llorens and Others   02/17/22  
The devastation wrought by the 2017 hurricane season showed that the Puerto Rico archipelago is already experiencing some of the gravest impacts of the climate crisis. And yet, it appears that powerful economic interests and…
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Biden admin. bets on renewable energy to revamp Puerto Rico’s electric system

By Nicole Acevedo   02/02/22  
Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Pierluisi is meeting with administration and agency officials in Washington on Wednesday as part of a formal agreement to revamp the U.S. territory’s outdated electric grid and move toward renewables.
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Study of health woes in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria shows effects of climate change

By Nada Hassanein   01/17/22  
A new study that found long-term health problems in Hurricane Maria survivors underscores the devastating health consequences of climate change on communities of color, experts say.
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An arrest warrant, a fugitive CEO: Puerto Rico’s effort to privatize its electrical grid is off to a rocky start

By Arelis R. Hernandez and Douglas MacMillan   11/16/21  
A phalanx of armed deputies wearing bulletproof vests descended on the corporate offices of the company hired to fix Puerto Rico’s antiquated power grid. They were looking for Luma Energy chief executive Wayne Stensby, who…
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Cornell, Puerto Rican students to connect for food security innovation

By Matt Hayes   11/10/21  
As Puerto Rico continues to build back from hurricanes Irma and Maria amid intensifying climatic changes, a joint project between Cornell and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) will prepare agricultural students to…
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Plagued by Daily Blackouts, Puerto Ricans Are Calling for an Energy Revolution. Will the Biden Administration Listen?

By Kristoffer Tigue   10/25/21  
When Hurricane Maria swept across Puerto Rico in September 2017, shredding the energy grid and knocking out power for nearly all the island’s 3.4 million residents for months on end, Casa Sol—Ramirez’s five-bedroom bed and…
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