October 30, 2018 Read More →

Questions on Puerto Rico power bill

PV Magazine:

Last Friday, Puerto Rico’s senate debated a bill which would set the island on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050. And while solar and renewable energy advocates all praised the vision that this represents, there were a number of concerns raised about the details.

Specifically, while expressing support for the bill overall representatives of Sunrun and Sunnova both showed concern about language that would pave the way for regulators to increase charges on customers who adopt solar via net metering. Meanwhile the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has produced a more wide-reaching critique. 

Specifically, Sunrun expressed concern about language which would allow regulators to impose charges on customers who adopt solar via net metering. Sunrun’s solution is to go back to the language in Puerto Rico’s original net metering proposal, which made such discriminatory.

The two companies are in a good position to speak for the solar industry, as Sunrun is the largest residential solar provider in the United States and Sunnova is the largest residential electricity provider in Puerto Rico next to state-run utility PREPA.

The IEEFA has argued that this bill would do little to stem a rush to natural gas development, and in particular notes the bill’s coal phase-out and a mandate that oil-fired power plants – which currently make up 2/3 of the island’s generating capacity – move to dual-fuel. “In the details – where it counts – Puerto Rico will be marching forward with another generation of fossil fuel projects,” argues Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst with IEEFA.

Kunkel also criticizes the privatization law passed earlier this summer, noting that that Energy Bureau, an independent regulator, is “almost entirely written out of the contracting process”, and notes that the 100% renewable energy bill misses an opportunity to fix this. “In short, the proposed new energy law appears to be setting in motion a process whereby the short-term push for natural gas and politically-driven contracts will come into conflict with the longer-term goals for renewable energy and energy efficiency,” argues Kunkel.

More: Warnings about Puerto Rico 100% renewable energy bill

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