The Biden government has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to assist Puerto Rico in shifting to a greener and extra resilient power future. But it’s on the brink of giving rise to a multibillion-dollar blunder. Since Hurricane Maria overwhelmed Puerto Rico in 2017, several citizens and environmental supporters have stopped for clean fuel inceptions for the island. Presently, Puerto Rico gets an additional 97% of its electricity from imported fossil powers. Energy is costly and unpredictable.
Puerto Rico approved ordinances that named for producing 15% of its electricity from renewable streams by 2020, 40% by 2025, 60% by 2040, and 100% by 2050. However, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which regulates compensation allocation for the isle, seems willing to support the rebuilding of the ancient fossil fuel network.
As environmental advisors and lecturers of the constitution, we are shocked to watch FEMA walk along in a way that drives rapid answers to the White House’s power and environment strategy. President Joe Biden has named for a government-wide strategy, that promotes clean energy conserves public health and the climate, and progresses environmental righteousness. In our opinion, FEMA’s efforts don’t help those objectives. They also dismiss legitimate regulations for federal agents to carefully evaluate the environmental impacts of crucial efforts.
Renovate or restore with a more resilient green policy?
In September 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico with strengthened storms of 155 mph. It ripped an oblique 100-mile swath across the aisle, destroying tens of thousands of residences and wearing down streets and bridges.The hurricane overthrew communication and cell towers, snarled solid power rods, ravaged power factories, and pl ummeted the isle into the dark. It killed approximately 3,000 people and affected over US$90 billion in destruction.
In acknowledgment, Congress approved some $23 billion in catastrophe assistance, comprising at least $10 billion to rebuild or renovate Puerto Rico’s electricity grid. It also approved the Disaster Recovery Reform Act to facilitate a more adaptable power network that could resist and recoup rapidly from environmental disturbances.
FEMA, which allocates the reserves, has allotted $9.4 billion for renovating Puerto Rico’s electricity network and will begin ratifying undertakings after it obtains more facts clarifying how the job will be conducted. So far, none of this cash has been reserved for renewable energy, except for a minor amount to overhaul a hydroelectric embankment that gives less than 1% of the isle’s energy.
The institutions making rulings in Puerto Rico are the Commonwealth’s Electric Power Authority, recognized as PREPA, and Luma Energy, a private corporation that obtained a 15-year treaty in 2021 to govern energy communication and diffusion on the isle. PREPA and Luma have formulated hundreds of programs for the coming decade, but none include a national allocation for rooftop solar, town solar, battery repository for microgrids. Proponents announce that this sort of small-scale regional production makes the island’s electricity cheaper, immaculate, and more credible.
Over a pro forma proposal for a public statement, FEMA made no exertion to commit with overburdened societies of color that have disproportionately endured from smog and climate alteration under Puerto Rico’s power network. This directly negates Biden’s injunction to position environmental arbiters at the center of national energy and environment strategy.