The devastated electric grid of Puerto Rico, still snared in one of the most sustained outages ever experienced by U.S. citizens, represents an ideal testbed for new, more resilient grid technologies and strategies.
That could include new energy storage systems from Tesla and others, microgrids, renewable energy sources and other energy innovations.
The Energy Times recently interviewed noted NBC correspondent, Gabe Gutierrez, who spent six weeks in Puerto Rico after it was smashed by Hurricane Maria, reporting on the disaster - most notably the loss of electric power to a majority of the island for a prolonged period.
Gutierrez said that unfortunately the utility there, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, has been mired in financial troubles, which has hindered its ability to bolster its grid pre-hurricane. Much of the devastated power lines were in remote parts of the island far removed from the population, Guetierrez said.
Gutierrez will share his thought on the grid collapse in Puerto Rico as part of an hour-long webcast 2 pm ET on December 14.
Also joining the discussion are Philip D. Moeller, former commissioner of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and currently Edison Electric Institute executive vice president, Michael J. Hyland, American Public Power Association senior vice president and Mark McGranaghan, Electric Power Research Institute vice president.
The panel of energy sector thought leaders will discuss lessons from the grid collapse in Puerto Rico, along with other recent devastating hurricanes and storms in the Virgin Islands, Florida and Houston area. In an era of increasingly violent weather linked to climate change, what can and should be done to make the grid more resilient - on the technology and policy front, will be up for discussion.
To be a part of the free webcast, "Lessons from the 2017 Hurricane Wreckage," click here.
A segment of the Gutierrez interview follows. He responded to a question about whether Puerto Rico today represents a potential test best for grid hardening.