Economic Insider

Puerto Rico Sustains Damage from Floods, Power System Needs Improvement

Due to Hurricane Fiona’s onslaught this week, most of Puerto Rico is currently without electricity. Winds from the hurricane toppled trees and damaged power lines, leaving homes and commercial buildings without electricity.

Puerto Rico’s present energy crisis is evidence of its inadequate energy infrastructure. If the nation wants to avoid what happened when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico five years ago, experts believe this needs to be handled as soon as possible.

The longest blackout in American history, lasting 11 months, occurred in numerous sections of Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria’s tremendous destruction of the island. Additionally, 3,000 people lost their lives as a result of the disaster.

Senator Chuck Schumer claims that Puerto Rico’s neglect of the issue has resulted in the island’s electrical infrastructure being “almost 50 years out of date,” even though international help was rushed in after Hurricane Maria, according to legislators. Schumer does, however, emphasize that the US government is making every effort to assist Puerto Rico.

“As our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico continue to feel the wrath of Hurricane Fiona, we continue to monitor the situation here in Congress. Over the weekend, President Biden issued an Emergency Disaster Declaration for Puerto Rico, where 75% of the costs of emergency medical care, disaster response, and food distribution will be covered by the Federal Government,” the senator said.

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“The electric grid is almost 50 years out of date. It’s particularly susceptible to hurricanes. It hasn’t even been repaired since the damage Hurricane Maria five years ago put upon it. And yet we’ve given lots of federal money for the reestablishment, or the rebuilding of the grid and very little has happened. So we need to focus on that issue as well as others.”

“Five years to the day after the arrival of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico needs help to recover from Hurricane Fiona. We need to make sure this time, Puerto Rico has absolutely everything it needs, as soon as possible, for as long as they need it.”

The hope amid the disaster

In preparation for power disruptions, Puerto Rico began installing solar and improved power systems for homes five years ago. According to Chris Rauscher, a senior director at Sunrun, the biggest residential solar provider in the US, the system lights up homes when there are power outages.

Solar firms claim that they would invest in improved solar setups even if the climate problem has given rise to larger and wetter hurricanes. Puerto Rico will notably benefit since stronger hurricanes are more likely to damage electricity infrastructure more frequently.

“It’s showing that renewables paired with storage … are really the fundamental building blocks of a clean recovery that we need to really focus on on the island and elsewhere,” said Rauscher.

According to John Berger, a senior executive of Sunnova, a similarly large solar firm, Puerto Rico is one of the ideal locations for advancing and expanding the use of solar-powered houses. He also asserts that modern technology, including solar energy, is superior to conventional power sources.

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Fossil fuel should be outed

As the US commits to renewable energy sources in the near future, Puerto Rico’s reliance on fossil fuels to power its electric networks is set to alter. The need for an alternative energy source increased due to the Russian reduction, which increased costs.

An agreement was made between the US and Puerto Rico in February of last year to complete the island’s electricity grid.

The energy reform of the nation, bringing it to sustainability and efficiency, is a goal of his administration, according to the governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi.

“I will make sure that every federal fund appropriated to Puerto Rico and allocated for the reconstruction of the power grid is used efficiently and effectively,” Pierluisi said.


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