September 22, 2017 Read More →

Puerto Rico Faces Tough Choices in Restoring Power Supply

Marketplace (American Public Radio):

The entire island of Puerto Rico is still without power today in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Local officials said it could take months to repair the damage and restore full service. And it won’t be easy. The utility was already around $9 billion in debt before the hurricane and had filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Now, there’s a big repair bill and the problem of deciding who gets power back first. Puerto Rico’s economy can’t recover unless the businesses it depends on have electricity.

Puerto Rico will rely on federal aid to clean up from Maria, but private investment is what the island really needs right now, says Karl Cates of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis: “To attract the kind of capital it needs to turn its economy around, it needs to rethink its electricity grid along the lines of something that’s much more in step with the times,” with more reliance on renewable energy resources, especially local solar instead of oil.

With the lights off in Puerto Rico for months to come, Cates said the need for an updated energy system will only grow more urgent.

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