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Federal agencies allocate funds for clean energy, water projects

The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have included Puerto Rico in funding rounds.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced allocations and a funding opportunity for entities in Puerto Rico developing clean energy and water projects.

In a press release, the DOE announced Phase 1 winners of the Solutions for Lasting, Viable Energy Infrastructure Technologies (Solve It) Prize, in which it awarded $80,000 to each of the 28 winning proposals. Two projects in Puerto Rico were chosen and are now part of the Embark Phase, the first of the prize’s three phases.

The Asociación de Residentes de La Margarita, in Salinas won funding with which it is exploring an energy efficiency and resilience project using air conditioner water heater systems for the community.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Hydro Microgrid Partners in Utuado is using the funds to improve community resilience with small hydroelectric-powered microgrids for low-resourced, rural communities on the island. 

As they enter Phase 2 of the prize, the Engage Phase, the 28 winning teams from Phase 1 will collaborate with community participants to develop a vision for their clean energy or decarbonization projects. In the third and final Establish Phase, “they will demonstrate that they have the actionable plans and confirmed commitments required to see their project through,” the DOE stated.

At the end of Phase 3, about three Solve It grand prize winners will be awarded $500,000 each in support of their clean energy community project, the federal agency stated.

Meanwhile, the EPA announced that Puerto Rico can request $480,000 in funds to invest in clean and safe drinking water. This grant funding will specifically benefit underserved, small and disadvantaged communities by upgrading infrastructure to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act, reducing exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), removing sources of lead and addressing additional local drinking water challenges.

EPA’s grant funding “is flexible and can support a broad range of projects to help communities address drinking water concerns, from household water quality testing to monitoring for drinking water contaminants, including PFAS.”

These funds can also be used to identify and replace lead service lines and may also support efforts to build the technical, financial, and managerial abilities of a water system’s operations and staff. Infrastructure projects — from transmission, distribution and storage — that support drinking water quality improvements are also eligible for grant funding, the agency noted.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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