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.


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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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.
Read more

Big Oil Under Fire in Puerto Rico

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…
Read more

DOE and FEMA Release One-Year Progress Report on Joint Effort to Modernize Puerto Rico’s Grid With 100% Clean Energy

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…
Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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…
Read more

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,…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more



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

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

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

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

“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

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

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.


Puerto Rico Territory Profile and Energy Estimates

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

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

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

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

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

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

Affordable, low-carbon electricity for healthier and more prosperous communities

Revitalize Puerto Rico

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…


Puerto Rico’s ocean energy development enters next phase

WSP USA Building is a more than 130-year old company with expertise in engineering large infrastructure projects. Puerto Rico-based Marvel Architects likewise has design experience in such projects.
Read more

Puerto Rico selects ocean energy project developer

Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce has selected WSP USA Building and Marvel Architects for the US$300mn PROTech thermal ocean energy project.
Read more

Listen: How Puerto Ricans are rebuilding post-Hurricane María

By The Grist Staff   12/18/20  
In the last episode of Temperature Check (Grist’s podcast on climate, race, and culture) before the new year, host Andrew Simon and returning co-host Justin Worland look back on the biggest climate stories of 2020…
Read more

Enernet Global and project partners begin construction on emissions-reducing power plant for Neolpharma in Puerto Rico

 Enernet Global Inc., a distributed energy service company that provides tailored energy solutions for industrial customers, has funded and begun construction on a combined heat and power (CHP) solution for Neolpharma Inc. PR in Puerto…
Read more

Op-Ed: Puerto Rico’s new gov’t must focus on transforming energy sector

By Augustin F. Carbo   12/10/20  
In recent years, we have witnessed how legislation seeks to transform the electricity sector in Puerto Rico. In 2014, the Energy Transformation and RELIEF Act was approved, which for the first time created an independent…
Read more

Enel X and Eaton Team Up on Solar and Storage Microgrid in Puerto Rico

By Emma Foehringer Merchant   12/03/20  
Enel X and power equipment and management company Eaton will partner on a solar-storage microgrid in Puerto Rico, one of the largest yet built on an island struggling to restructure its hurricane-battered power grid.
Read more

White House authorizes $9.6B to rebuild Puerto Rico’s grid, but how can it be spent?

By Robert Walton   09/22/20  
The Trump Administration on Friday announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized $9.6 billion to rebuild Puerto Rico's power infrastructure — three years after the island's electric grid was destroyed by Hurricane Maria.
Read more

Trump Declares He Is Now ‘the Best Thing That Ever Happened’ to Puerto Rico

By Peter Baker and Patricia Mazzei   09/18/20  
Three years later, after repeated Twitter outbursts, angry recriminations, blocked aid and a paper towel-throwing visit that went over badly, Mr. Trump sought on Friday to present himself as a friend of Puerto Rico, announcing…
Read more

White House announces $9B for Puerto Rico grid

By Miranda Willson   09/18/20  
Three years after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the Trump administration announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will allocate more than $9 billion to help rebuild the island's electric grid system and educational…
Read more

A light at the end of the political tunnel for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s status has been fraught for far too long. A new bill in Congress could be the first step toward decolonizing the island.
Read more

Amid natural disasters, Puerto Rico places hope on privatization to save electrical system

By Laura Freeland   09/02/20  
A series of natural disasters have devastated Puerto Rico’s electrical system, leaving the territory with unreliable and fragile power. Hurricane Maria in September 2017 had incredibly damaging effects on the people and infrastructure of Puerto…
Read more

Puerto Rico Firm Offers Sustainability Certifications for Businesses

By Giovanna Garofalo   09/02/20  
Puerto Rico-based CTI Consulting Group recently formed an alliance with SIP Group, an innovation and sustainability consulting firm in the Dominican Republic, to develop a strategy for local companies to obtain a sustainability certification.
Read more

Natural Gas Plans in PREPA’s Integrated Resources Plan Lambasted

The environmental organizations that make up the Renewable Energy Now Alliance (AERA) criticized the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau for approving an Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) for the Electric Power Authority (PREPA) focused on privatization, the…
Read more

Climate change may make extreme hurricane rainfall 5 times more likely in the Caribbean, study suggests

By Stephanie Weaver   09/01/20  
In August, Hurricane Laura battered the Caribbean before making landfall on the Gulf Coast. In 2017, Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 Hurricane, brought as much as a quarter of normal annual rainfall to some regions…
Read more

Severe storms are increasingly leaving us without power. Microgrids can help.

By Greta Moran   08/31/20  
As climate change spurs worsening hurricanes, renewable microgrids have the potential to generate and redistribute power.
Read more

Puerto Rico Regulators Want IRP To Include More Renewables, VPPs, and Mini Grids

By Steve Hanley   08/29/20  
Puerto Rico’s utility system was virtually wiped out after Hurricane Maria devastated the island three years ago. Some utility customers were without electricity for almost a year. The reasons for the disaster that befell Puerto…
Read more

Puerto Rico regulators set island on a 5-year course to procure renewables, storage

By Robert Walton   08/26/20  
Read more

Puerto Rico regulators push PREPA to embrace renewable energy

By Andrew Coen   08/26/20  
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority would save around $600 million by using renewable energy, according to a regulatory proposal suggesting the switch from the utility’s preferred plan focusing on natural gas.
Read more

In Blow to Natural Gas, Puerto Rico Regulators Affirm Solar-Centric Grid Overhaul

By Emma Foehringer Merchant   08/25/20  
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority will be required to acquire thousands of megawatts of renewables and storage in the coming years, according to a Monday order from the island’s energy regulators that also rejected…
Read more

USDA invests $632K in renewable energy program in rural Puerto Rico

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $631,993 on the Rural Energy for America Program in Rural Puerto Rico, the agency announced. “Rural Development is investing to increase energy resilience and decrease the demand for…
Read more

Puerto Rico’s IRP Resolution a Step Forward as Work Remains

By Daniel Whittle   08/24/20  
Today the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) released its resolution on the Integrated Resource Plan put forward by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), which will dictate the way the public utility will satisfy…
Read more

USDA awards $632,000 as part of Renewable Energy Program in rural Puerto Rico

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday it (USDA) is investing $631,993 on the Rural Energy for America Program in Puerto Rico. The department’s investment was made through its Rural Development mission area to increase…
Read more

Puerto Rico fiscal board to power authority: Reassess renewable energy contracts

The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico warned about the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) July 1 submission of 16 renegotiated non-operational renewable energy power purchase and operating agreements (PPOA), saying these…
Read more

Puerto Rico can achieve reliable and equitable clean energy. Here’s what it’ll take.

By Fred Krupp   08/12/20  
Puerto Rico sits in the eye of what’s been the busiest hurricane season on record with an old and historically unreliable power system. The all too common occurrence of blackouts left more than 400,000 people…
Read more

IEEFA: T&D agreement for Puerto Rico power grid sets off alarm bells

In testimony submitted to the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA)’s Director of Finance Tom Sanzillo warned of “significant problems” with a recent agreement for LUMA Energy…
Read more

Spotlight: climate change law, regulation and policy in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico finds itself in an interesting and historic juncture regarding climate change policy and practice. In its current bankrupt status, the island government, and its instrumentalities (including public corporations like PREPA, one of the…
Read more

6.4-magnitude quake strikes Puerto Rico, killing at least 1 amid heavy seismic activity

By Nicole Acevedo and Ben Kesslen   01/08/20  
"We've never been exposed to this kind of emergency in 102 years," Gov. Wanda Vázquez said as the island grapples with ongoing aftershocks and assesses the damage.
Read more

Up from the ashes

By Paola Rosa-Aquino   09/25/19  
Could a solar-powered uprising reshape Puerto Rico?
Read more

In Puerto Rico, FEMA flood zone residents see little relief

Two years after Hurricane Maria, residents of San Isidro are still struggling to rebuild. Now, their only option for relief may be to relocate....
Read more

Building Resilience in Vieques, Puerto Rico

In the two years since Hurricane Maria, the Urban Design Lab has been working with the small island community to design resilient homes, community centers, and sustainable infrastructure. ...
Read more

The 16-Year-Old Leading The Fight For A Green New Deal In Puerto Rico

La generación del "yo no me dejo" is about to merge with Generation Green New Deal as climate strikes take place worldwide. ...
Read more

Puerto Rico Braces for Tropical Storm Dorian

Puerto Rico, still recovering from 2017's devastating Hurricane Maria, is now facing down Tropical Storm Dorian.The storm is expected to reach the island at near hurricane...
Read more

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, efforts to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical system offer lessons for boosting energy security

A resilient electrical production and distribution system is possible — if we learn from past experience.
Read more

Puerto Rico gov enacts Climate Change Act

By María Miranda   05/22/19  
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Wednesday signed the Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change Act, which establishes related public policy that includes goals, metrics and compliance dates to address the risks the island…
Read more

Puerto Rico is targeting 100% renewable energy. The Trump administration has other ideas.

By Umair Irfan   04/17/19  
The island is undertaking one of the most aggressive turns toward clean energy in the United States.
Read more

Puerto Rico’s efforts towards renewable energy are met with resistance

By E.A. Crunden   04/09/19  
Transitioning away from fossil fuels is proving challenging for the island.
Read more

Puerto Rico Community Foundation to promote a model for community-based energy self-sufficiency

By Robin Whitlock   04/08/19  
The Puerto Rico Community Foundation will promote a model for community-owned solar at the House Committee on Natural Resources hearing on the Status of the Rebuilding and Privatisation of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority…
Read more

Puerto Rico passes 100% renewable energy bill as it aims for storm resilience

By Iulia Gheorghiu   03/26/19  
The Puerto Rico state legislature adopted on Monday a bill that would set a 100% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2050 as part of a broader package of energy reforms.
Read more

Puerto Rico Pledges to Go All-Renewable by 2050

By Daniel Cusick   11/21/18  
Puerto Rico has ambitious plans to transform its hurricane-battered electric grid to rely entirely on renewable energy by 2050. The move is part of a multimillion-dollar program to reduce the U.S. territory’s carbon footprint and…
Read more

What Puerto Rico Can Teach Us About Surviving Climate Change

By Jane Palmer   03/23/18  
“Maria didn’t cause everything. Maria just revealed to the world how we are living."
Read more