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.

IEFFA Puerto Rico: New natural gas deal fits same old pattern for choosing contractors

Lack of transparency, subversion of planning process, award to small company with questionable track record all sound familiar

The government of Puerto Rico is moving forward with plans to convert two units at the San Juan power plant from oil to natural gas. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) plans to contract with a third party that will make the necessary upgrades to the power plant to convert it and invest in […]

and January 22, 2019 Read More →

IEEFA Puerto Rico: PREPA keeps relying on expensive consultants

Instead of building up its own staff expertise on key continuing issues

So far, the limited use and short shelf life of Puerto Rico’s bevy of high-cost consultants has not contributed to solving its energy and finance problems.  As a prime example, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) overreliance on outside advisors continues to undercut its ability to invest in the people needed in Puerto Rico […]

December 19, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Puerto Rico:  Massive liquefied natural gas project dead

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Massive liquefied natural gas project dead

Finally, some good news for electricity ratepayers in Puerto Rico

A massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Puerto Rico that would have diverted funds from badly needed development of solar power and would have kept electric power costs high has been officially cancelled. Last week, Excelerate Energy, the company that planned to develop a natural gas import terminal in Puerto Rico, requested that the […]

November 30, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA U.S.: Why are Virginia energy coop customers paying as much as 50% over market?

45-year supply contract is not publicly available and has no transparency

Customers of a rural electric cooperative in northern Virginia are locked into paying 23% to 50% above-market rates for power under a forty-five year contract, even though the supplier to the coop buys the majority of its power at market rates. That’s the main conclusion of an IEEFA briefing note released earlier this month on […]

November 13, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Puerto Rico: PREPA preliminary energy plan modeling says maximize renewables

Senate should change its energy bill to support, not hinder, this goal

Over the near term, Puerto Rico should invest as much as possible in renewable energy and storage. That is a key takeaway from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) preliminary modeling results for its integrated resource plan (IRP), which it plans to file with the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau in late January. PREPA’s preliminary […]

November 5, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Puerto Rico: A step toward renewables or another scandal waiting to happen?

Energy bill is a limp gesture toward true reform

A bill put forth last week by leading Puerto Rico senators pushing for major energy policy reform for the island makes some noteworthy commitments to renewable energy. Unfortunately it would do little to shut down the rush to natural gas development that threatens to crowd out investment in renewables. On the one hand, the bill […]

October 26, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA update: The unsustainable debt deal that won’t die

Magical debt thinking persists even with Puerto Rico’s economy declining and PREPA losing money

July’s proposal to pay bondholders 77 cents on the dollar for about a third of the debt of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) straggles on, neither approved nor rejected despite deadlines passing. If the measure of success of a debt settlement is that it offers realistic payouts to bondholders while allowing the debtor […]

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, […]