Author Archive: Cathy Kunkel

Energy Analyst Cathy Kunkel is an independent consultant with Kunkel Energy Research. She has testified before regulatory bodies and was a senior research associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She has undergraduate and master’s degrees in physics.

IEEFA update: A perilous rush toward natural gas dependency in Puerto Rico

Reliance on imported fuel is not in the public’s best energy-security interest

IEEFA is urging the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) of Puerto Rico to halt the rush to natural gas infrastructure development in Puerto Rico. We’ve sent an open letter to board members warning this ill-advised strategy after recent news reports of PREPA discussions around potential new liquefied natural gas import terminals—at San Juan, Mayaguez […]

September 18, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Regulators must move roadblocks to renewable energy for market redesign to succeed

Energy Bureau should reject outdated market structures from mainland states; avoid trap of promoting large natural gas facilities

Puerto Rico has a historic opportunity to rebuild its electrical system and phase out its obsolete oil-fired generation in favor of a much more decentralized and reliable system based on renewable energy. To do that, the island must design a regulatory framework that maximizes the penetration of renewable energy and empowers the creation of locally-based […]

August 28, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA op-ed: Plan to turn to imported natural gas will cost Puerto Rico dearly

More ratepayer-subsidized profits for companies well-represented in Congress

A series of announcements over the past couple of weeks by Puerto Rican officials signals a new—and misguided—push for greater reliance on imported natural gas for electricity production. If these plans come to fruition, they will saddle Puerto Rico with far too much expensive natural gas-generated power while crowding out cheaper renewable energy. The plan, […]

IEEFA update: New debt deal throws Puerto Rico under the bus

A reckless proposal to benefit creditors while sapping the economy

In a deal it announced this week between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and some of its creditors, the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board, PREPA and the bondholders are only kicking the can down the road. The agreement means that businesses and households across Puerto Rico will be hit with a 10% increase […]

IEEFA update: An influential congressman impedes Puerto Rico’s recovery

Rep. Rob Bishop is interfering at the behest of oil and gas interests

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has abandoned the sound fiscal stewardship that once made him a leader on fiscal solvency and responsible economic recovery for Puerto Rico. Instead, Bishop has succumbed to the special-interest quagmire in Washington and is now actively promoting unsustainable policies for the battered U.S. commonwealth. […]

IEEFA update: PREPA privatization law invites more contracting scandals

The door is wide open for conflicts of interest and political hires; New law will not lead to much-needed transformation of energy generation mix

The law that Puerto Rico enacted last month to privatize the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has many flaws, including labor protections that are too weak, an unnecessary restructuring of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission and a lack of commitment to strong energy planning. And it is likely to lead to more contracting scandals […]

IEEFA op-ed: Latest Puerto Rico utility privatization plan is as flawed as the original

In its version of a bill to privatize the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the Puerto Rico legislature has improved some on Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s original proposal, but lawmakers are ultimately failing the Puerto Rican people every bit as badly as Rosselló has. We’ve criticized the governor’s original privatization proposal for essentially aiming to set […]

IEEFA Op-Ed: Little Chance New Fiscal Recovery Plan for Puerto Rico’s Electric Company Will Succeed

A Weak Economy With Less Demand for Power Is Among the Many Risks

Customers of Puerto Rico’s bankrupt electric utility cannot afford to pay back the utility’s creditors over the next five years without jeopardizing much-needed investment in the rebuilding and resiliency of the island’s power grid. Nor can the utility continue to pay fossil fuel producers exorbitant amounts for oil, coal and gas. Those are the two […]

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Proposed Offshore Gas-Import Project Makes Less and Less Sense

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Proposed Offshore Gas-Import Project Makes Less and Less Sense

Little Rationale for a Port Complex That Would Support the Status Quo

In shelving its review of the economic viability of a proposed natural gas import complex off the south coast of the island, the Puerto Rico Energy Commission last week took a policy step in the right direction. The Aguirre Offshore Gas Port (AOGP) would bring additional liquefied natural gas into the commonwealth for electricity generation, […]

IEEFA Op-Ed: Now Is Not the Time to Roll Back Oversight of Puerto Rico’s Power Company

A Looming Threat to Independent Regulatory Oversight

Members of Congress have rightly expressed concern over Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s incessant campaign to steamroll the Puerto Rico Energy Commission, the progressive regulatory body that is seeking responsible modernization of the island’s backward electricity system. Just last week, the Puerto Rico Senate approved a bill that contains the governor’s most recent plan to […]

March 21, 2018 Read More →