Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands point to Energy Rethink

September 29, 2017

This year’s hurricanes could be black swan events in several ways.

Washington Post:

The ongoing electricity disaster in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria — and on several other Caribbean islands slammed at full force by strong storms — is driving new interest in ways of shifting island power grids toward greater reliance on wind, solar and even, someday, large batteries.

“For the most part, these island grids were completely devastated, and it will be four to six months before most of them can power their islands completely again,” said Chris Burgess, director of projects for the Islands Energy Program at the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Adding more renewables, and moving away from centralized power grids to more so-called “microgrids,” could lower costs and increase resilience in the face of storms, several energy experts said. And island nations, already at the forefront of pushing for action on climate change, have been moving this way for a while.


Members states of CARICOM, a consortium of Caribbean nations, already have a goal of reaching 47 percent renewable energy by 2027. The storms now only give greater impetus.

“You look at islands like Dominica, Anguilla and the other islands affected by the recent hurricanes, I’ve spoken to a couple of the utilities, and they say they would prefer to rebuild using distributed generation with storage, and just trying to reduce the amount of transmission lines,” said Tom Rogers, a renewable energy expert at Coventry University in Britain who previously was a lecturer in energy at the University of the West Indies in Barbados. “Because that’s where their energy systems fail. It’s having these overhead cables.”

Even in good weather, islands like those in the Caribbean have an energy problem: They’ve tended to burn fossil fuels, such as diesel or heavy fuel oil, to drive centralized power plants. But being an island without its own fossil energy resources makes shipping in the fuel quite expensive — in turn translating into sky-high electricity bills — to say nothing of the environmental costs incurred by burning it.

5 Responses to “Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands point to Energy Rethink”

  1. Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:
    The ongoing electricity disaster in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria — and on several other Caribbean islands slammed at full force by strong storms — is driving new interest in ways of shifting island power grids toward greater reliance on wind, solar and even, someday, large batteries.

  2. redskylite Says:

    Let’s hope that he’ll listen to medical professionals, even though he doesn’t listen to climate professionals.

    “Ask federal agencies to help educate the public that Puerto Rico is not a foreign country and that the residents of Puerto Rico are United States citizens.”


  3. redskylite Says:

    TESLA well on target to meet big battery commitments in Australia but rooftop homes may be delayed for urgent work in Puerto Rica.


  4. redskylite Says:

    Tesla Is Sending Battery Packs to Puerto Rico for Recovery Efforts

    Tesla Inc. is sending to Puerto Rico hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels in an effort to help the battered island territory restore electric power, the company said Thursday. Some of the systems are already there and others are en route.


  5. redskylite Says:

    A sad scene reminiscent of war time evacuations, maybe a foreshadowing of a future for islanders on this planet,

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Thousands of people lined up at San Juan harbor on Thursday to board a cruise ship that will take them from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland in one of the largest evacuations since Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico more than a week ago.

    U.S. aid to Puerto Rico seen topping $30 billion -congressional aide

    Maria, which came ashore as the strongest storm to hit the island in nearly 90 years, has created a humanitarian crisis. The powerful storm knocked out the nation’s electric grid and has crippled communications networks, transport and the water supply for the territory’s 3.4 million people.

    The devastation is likely to feed an exodus that has driven tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans from the economically struggling island in recent years in search of opportunity on the mainland. Applause to Royal Caribbean International.

    “I’m sorry to be leaving Puerto Rico, but I have to. I prefer home, but it’s impossible with these conditions,” said Ada Reyes, 85. She was in a wheelchair and traveling on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship bound for Florida with her granddaughter, Maria Fernanda, 19.

    Fernanda planned to drop her grandmother in Florida, then head to Boston to look into colleges. A second-year student at the University of Puerto Rico, the teenager did not know when classes there would resume.

    Royal Caribbean International said its Adventure of the Seas cruise ship will carry 3,800 passengers from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A company spokesman said the cruise line is providing the passages free of charge and that travelers were registered with the help of local officials.


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