reader comments 31
Two weeks in the past, battery makers Tesla and Sonnen pledged to construct microgrids and bring batteries to hospitals and different important infrastructure in Puerto Rico within the aftermath of typhoon Maria, which worn out energy to practically all of the island’s electrical energy purchasers. nowadays, Tesla tweeted that hospital del Niño, a little ones’s clinic in Puerto Rico, became the “first of many photo voltaic+storage projects going live.” The business did not immediately respond to requests for feedback on the size of the installing or how tons it charge.)
however Tesla’s now not the only enterprise engaged on inserting renewable power in Puerto Rico. In an e mail to Ars, a Sonnen spokesperson Hilary Donnell talked about that the enterprise’s first microgrid in Puerto Rico would go reside someday subsequent week, with 3 to 5 Sonnen microgrids serving communities on the island by using mid-November.
Microgrids have commonly been noted as infrastructure to improve electric resiliency. They are usually small, community-based methods that run on solar vigour, batteries, wind, or diesel turbines, which can also be promptly repaired and linked up to other microgrids in case of failure. within the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, big apple set aside $ 500,000 in offers to do feasibility reviews for microgrid development. in a similar way, Puerto Rico looks enthusiastic to area microgrids where extra usual power changed into once served. in keeping with Bloomberg, Puerto Rico officials have talked now not only to Tesla and Sonnen, but also to Arensis and Sunnova to discuss enhancing and privatizing constituents of the commonwealth’s public grid.
however that enthusiasm for ambitious tasks changed into overshadowed by means of the admission from Puerto Rico’s governor on Thursday that handiest 20 % of the island’s related residents have power. The information comes greater than a month out from the devastating typhoon’s landfall.
while microgrid agencies are desperate to sing their own praises their plans for the island, Puerto Rico residents are starting to be more and more impatient, hoping for any electrical energy, no matter if it’s low-carbon or now not.
in line with the linked Press, Puerto Rico’s state-owned energy enterprise PREPA (short for Puerto Rico electric powered energy Authority) filed for bankruptcy in July, simply before the hurricane hit. Even before the disaster, Puerto Ricans paid one of the maximum expenses for electrical energy within the US, and still dealt with an unreliable, fossil gas-heavy grid. When Maria hit the island, PREPA had “put off badly mandatory protection and had just entire dealing with outages from typhoon Irma in early September,” the AP wrote. moreover, the direction of the typhoon was unlucky for Puerto Rico. as the AP explained:
Most of Puerto Rico’s producing capability is alongside the southern coast and most consumption is within the north around San Juan, with metal and aluminum transmission towers as much as 90 toes (27 meters) tall operating throughout the mountains within the middle. at the least 10 towers fell alongside essentially the most critical transmission line that runs to the capital, entangling it with a secondary one which runs parallel and that misplaced about two dozen towers in a hard-to-attain area within the middle of the island.
The Puerto Rican government has promised its citizens that ninety five percent of PREPA’s customers will have power once again by way of December 31, but some have doubts.
in the meantime, the primary enterprise hired to support PREPA repair its energy grid has come under scrutiny by way of the condo Committee on natural resources. the two-person, Montana-primarily based firm, Whitefish power, changed into based simply two years ago and is based in Whitefish, MT the identical city interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is from, in response to reporting from the big apple instances. The company gained a $ 300 million contract to help PREPA restore one hundred miles of excessive-voltage transmission lines. A document from Buzzfeed quoted the company as asserting it offered knowledge in mountainside transmission repair that other agencies from the southeast vicinity of the united states couldn’t deliver. Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski counters that he changed into at the appropriate location at the appropriate time, and PREPA denies any counsel of cronyism throughout the US executive.
in accordance with the big apple instances, “in an interview on Oct. 10, Mr. Techmanski spoke of he acquired the job as a result of he was the first to reveal up on the island—on Sept. 26, six days after the storm hit—and because he didn’t ask for any payment in improve.” PREPA’s CEO Ricardo Ramos insisted that the utility evaluated “five or six” different offers earlier than determining Whitefish’s.
today an Oklahoma city-primarily based contractor referred to as substantial energy features also signed a $ 200 million contract contend with PREPA to rebuild transmission traces serving the island.