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Puerto Rico, federal agencies partner for build-out of resilient energy network

The US Department of Energy (DOE) joined the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to launch a new effort to accelerate work to strengthen the island’s grid resilience and advance new initiatives to enhance Puerto Rico’s energy future. 

The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that promotes collaboration among federal agencies and the Commonwealth, and kickstarts the PR100 Study, government officials announced in Washington, D.C.

The PR100 Study is a community-driven and locally tailored roadmap to help Puerto Rico meet its target of 100% renewable electricity, improve power sector resiliency, and increase access to more affordable energy and cleaner air. 

Dozens of grid modernization projects will start construction this year, and Puerto Rico’s utility will sign contracts for at least 2 GW of renewable energy and 1 GW of energy storage projects, government officials said. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration is helping Puerto Rico strengthen the island’s resilience, and in the process unlock its potential for cheap and abundant renewable energy,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

“Today’s commitments and the launch of the PR100 Study show that 2022 will be a year of action to modernize Puerto Rico’s grid and increase energy resilience as we accelerate our work with Puerto Rico to execute data-driven, community-tailored pathways toward 100% clean electricity,” she said.

Meanwhile, Homeland Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said “as Puerto Rico continues to rebuild and recover, we will work with our interagency partners to help create a more sustainable future and ensure communities have access to affordable energy and cleaner air.”

Specifically, the PR100 Study will: 

  • Engage stakeholders and assess climate risks through the lens of energy justice —Extensive community engagement will inform the development of scenarios that reflect local perspectives and priorities to meet the Commonwealth’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050. Energy justice considerations and climate risk assessments will be incorporated into the study’s modeling efforts. 
  • Assess the full potential of renewable energy — Generation of high-quality input data such as resource potential, detailed demand projections, and distributed energy resource adoption will inform scenario generation and modeling. 
  • Model clean energy scenarios — Based on stakeholder input and data, the research team will select detailed feasible pathways to 100% renewable energy, and then model their potential to meet resilience, reliability, affordability, and safety objectives. 
  • Analyze system reliability, resilience, and economic impact — Analysis of the implications of 100% renewable electricity on the power system and associated economic and workforce development will be evaluated and incorporated into the final deliverables.  

The PR100 Study is funded by FEMA through an interagency agreement with DOE’s Office of Electricity to support recovery efforts in Puerto Rico’s energy sector leveraging the expertise and capabilities of the National Laboratories including Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, NREL, Oak Ridge, PNNL, and Sandia.

The PR100 Study is modeled after the Los Angeles “100% Renewable Energy Study” (LA100), which evaluated a wide range of future scenarios to help Los Angeles understand options for and implications of meeting its renewable energy goals. 

Study results showed that meeting Los Angeles’ goal of reliable, 100% renewable electricity by 2045 — or even 2035 — is achievable, and will provide benefits related to air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and public health if coupled with electrification of other sectors. 

DOE will hold a public informational webinar on Feb. 16 at 12 p.m. to offer additional details.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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