Photo Credit: NBC
Following the wrath of Hurricane Fiona this week, the majority of Puerto Rico is still without electricity. The hurricane’s powerful winds uprooted trees and wrecked power lines, leaving households and businesses without power.
The present energy crisis Puerto Rico is experiencing is evidence of its ineffective energy infrastructure. To prevent a repeat of what happened when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico five years ago, experts advise resolving this issue as quickly as possible.
A number of Puerto Rican regions were forced to endure an 11-month blackout, the longest in American history, due to Hurricane Maria’s tremendous destruction of the island. Additionally, 3,000 civilians perished in the hurricane.
Senator Chuck Schumer asserts that the island’s electrical system is “nearly 50 years out of date” as a result of Puerto Rico’s lack of attention to the issue, despite the fact that international help was quickly dispatched following Hurricane Maria. In contrast, Schumer notes 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,” said the senator.
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“The electric grid is almost 50 years out of date.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.”
There is hope despite the disaster
Puerto Rico began solar installation and improved power systems for homes five years ago in case there were power shortages. According to Chris Rauscher, a senior director at Sunrun, the leading residential solar provider in the US, when there are power outages, the system lights up residences.
Solar companies claim that they will invest in improved solar setups even if the climate problem has resulted in more powerful and rainy storms. Stronger hurricanes bring a higher frequency of power grid damage; therefore areas like Puerto Rico will benefit immensely.
“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,” Rauscher said.
John Berger, a senior executive of Sunnova, a major solar firm, agrees with Rauscher that Puerto Rico is one of the ideal locations for implementing more effective and ubiquitous solar-powered houses. Additionally, he asserts that more recent technology, like solar energy, are superior to more established ones.
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No more use of fossil fuel
Fossil fuels have long powered Puerto Rico’s electric systems, but that is set to change as the US pledges to use renewable energy sources in the near future. The need for a different energy source grew even more critical due to the Russian reduction, which boosted costs.
In an effort to complete the island’s electricity grid, a deal was inked last February between the US and Puerto Rico.
Pedro Pierluisi, the governor of Puerto Rico, stated that his administration’s top objective is to reform the nation’s energy system to one that is efficient and sustainable.
“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,” the governor said.
Opinions expressed by US Insider contributors are their own.