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Puerto Rican Rebuild Puts Emerging Energy Solutions on Display

Many months after Hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated the island of Puerto Rico, we are still grappling to comprehend the magnitude of the destruction that occurred. After the storms took out 100 percent of the island’s electricity infrastructure, the U.S. Congress acted quickly to pass a $36.5 billion emergency relief package to bring relief to the besieged territory.

Additionally, in dealing with the scope and challenges of restoring Puerto Rico’s power grid, officials are also looking for truly innovative solutions to rebuild its infrastructure. These infrastructure changes would be more modernized, secure, efficient and cost-effective. Thus, industry experts are watching Puerto Rico closely to show us what next-generation energy infrastructure could potentially look like.

Exelon’s Utilities Add to Resources Restoring Power in Puerto Rico

Line mechanics, crew leaders, safety personnel, and bucket trucks from Constellation’s parent company, Exelon, are on their way to Puerto Rico to help restore power to the island. Nearly 150 employees from Exelon’s six utilities will join nearly 1,500 restoration personnel from Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) member companies. EEI and other power industry groups received a request from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) for assistance. Exelon will begin dispatching equipment, including trucks, by ship this week; crews will depart for Puerto Rico in mid-February.

Solar and Battery Storage Solutions

Research indicates that Puerto Rico has a solar generation capacity of 1,100 MW, yet to date has only installed 22.1 MW (as of December 2017). While a part of this gap can be attributed to a lack of solar installations, storage is a fundamental component as well. Many of the major players in the solar industry have stepped up to donate thousands of solar batteries in an effort to encourage adoption of renewable solutions that would be so favorable in the tropical climate.

Puerto Rican Officials Ponder Microgrids

Manuel Laboy is Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary. In an interview with Bloomberg, he made his case for two innovative solutions to his territory’s infrastructure issues. Microgrids, he argued, could be pivotal for building a decentralized grid that is more agile, secure, and more adept at distributing power evenly across the island.

He also suggested a scenario in which private companies could manage power generation, while leaving transmission to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). This scenario would shift responsibility off of PREPA and mirrors the growing trend of energy choice seen in many U.S. states today. Laboy demonstrated that while innovative technology is vital, the partnerships and actual operational processes put into place must be equally as innovative.

Innovative Solutions Could Be Answers for Puerto Rico

While there is plenty of potential in the plans being laid to revitalize Puerto Rico’s energy grid and help from many U.S. companies, there remain plenty of challenges ahead. Restoring and improving the energy infrastructure in Puerto Rico will take a combination of emergent technologies and unique partnerships in order to help the devastated island get up and running again.

For more information on the innovative solutions Constellation offers, such as solar power, battery storage and new, innovative technologies, and how they could help your business, please visit constellation.com.

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