amorylovins GettyImages

Puerto Rico: Seize Alternative Energy Options

Energy efficiency, renewables, upgraded technologies and new utility rules are needed.

Puerto Rico has been largely without power since Hurricane Maria hit weeks ago. But as it methodically rebuilds its grid, it has an opportunity to embrace efficiency and new alternative energy systems while updating ancient utility rules.

So say Amory Lovins, chief scientist and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, in an op-ed in the New York Times.

Lovins is the kickoff keynoter at the Empowering Customers & Cities executive energy conference in Chicago November 7-8.

“We should use this opportunity in Puerto Rico and other places hit hard by recent storms to do two things: Rebuild damaged or destroyed homes and businesses to be as energy efficient as possible, and rebuild the grid so that alternative energy systems like solar and wind, whether on a home or in a microgrid, can operate independently when the larger grid is damaged or shut down,” the two write.

“…we must work to rebuild stronger, fuel-free, stormproof power systems based on decentralized and resilient renewables like solar. We need to use 21st century innovation, not 20th century technology,” the duo said.

GettyImages

Puerto Rico’s leaders say they intend to do just that. Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy said this weekend that Puerto Rico is working with Tesla, Sonnen, Sunnova Energy and other companies as it pursues microgrids and increased use of solar energy and batteries.

Lovins and Branson said that inverters must be used to allow renewables to keep the lights on even when the grid is down.

“Unfortunately, nearly all utilities forbid this. In fact, Florida Power and Light lobbied the Legislature hard this year to restrict their customers from access to home-based solar systems when the grid goes down,” Lovins and Branson wrote.

“We should use this opportunity in Puerto Rico and other places hit hard by recent storms to do two things: Rebuild damaged or destroyed homes and businesses to be as energy efficient as possible, and rebuild the grid so that alternative energy systems like solar and wind, whether on a home or in a microgrid, can operate independently when the larger grid is damaged or shut down,” the duo said.

 

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish