On Monday, the company announced it has already begun talks with several government agencies to break ground on the project by the end of the year. Jeff Ciachurski, Western Wind’s CEO, confirmed the investment figure.
Western Wind has reached an agreement with the Puerto Rico Land Authority to use a 400-acre plot of land in that southeastern town, while it has also set off the re-zoning process and necessary Environmental Impact Statement required by the Puerto Rico Planning Board. The latter agency must approve solar energy zoning plan.
Historically speaking, Yabucoa has been a mostly agricultural town, with significant plantain and banana production throughout its expansive valley. Until the late 1990s, the town was also home to the Roig Sugar Mill, which harvested sugarcane for table sugar production for decades. While plantain and banana farming remains active, Roig is no longer operating, and over the years, the Lands Authority has requested permission to segregate and sell off portions of the lands once earmarked for sugarcane.
Meanwhile, Western Wind’s proposed project is in line with the government’s plans to diversify energy sources. To that effect, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has been receiving proposals from several offshore companies looking to build solar and wind energy projects on the island.
The successful development of Western Wind’s Yabucoa proposal still hinges on securing a power purchase agreement with Prepa, interconnection and transmission lines, and financing, among other elements.