The public and private sectors have pumped more than $23 million into renewable and energy efficiency ventures in the Mayagüez region over the past three years, financing green energy projects for 2,344 homes and retroffiting of efficient lighting and air conditioning systems in area businesses, Energy Affairs Administration Interim Executive Director Juan Carlos Díaz said.
The government official disclosed the information to more than 100 business people, academics and island residents who took part in the “Green Energy Business Conference-The Solar Challenge” conference held in Mayagüez, sponsored by the EAA and the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez campus.
The event sought to present to the public the creation of a partnership between the federal and local government, academia and the renewable energy industry, to create more agile and cost effective permits and construction processes that open possibilities for a greater number of projects, the renewable energy industry’s growth and decrease the time it takes to accomplish them.
“We can put out millions of dollars for the development of renewable energy projects, but if we don’t push for an efficient structure that joins all sectors and makes the procedure one that’s agile and committed to the growth of renewable energy projects, we will fall short,” Díaz said. “These last three years have produced a growing energy industry that creates jobs and has become a pillar of economic development.”
To that end, the EAA and the UPR-Mayagüez received a grant under the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Sun Shot” program to create a partnership that integrates each of the sectors and processes needed and that projects reach relevant agencies directly and are addressed with greater urgency.
Aside from the residential turnover to clean energy, there are several large-scale commercial green energy projects currently underway, namely the Santa Isabel Wind Farm, the AES Ilumina Solar Park in Guayama, and the Punta Lima Wind Farm in Naguabo.