Wind, solar, and battery storage resources offer practical solutions.
In the weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and destroyed the island’s entire electric grid, new visions for the grid emerged. Renewable energy advocates argued that the extensive damage gave Puerto Rico the perfect opportunity to rebuild its failed grid to be greener and more resilient.
Four months later, a large percentage of the island is still without power. Electric grid repairs so far have focused mainly on restoring power, not on creating a cleaner grid. This strategy, however, makes sense to residents who have been living without power since September; most of them don’t care about the origin of the electricity as long as it powers up their refrigerator and air conditioning, and allows the local water system to operate.
“When it’s been more than a hundred days without power, I’ve seen two different reactions from people. There are people just wanting to get electricity no matter at what cost or no matter how it’s produced,” Adriana Gonzalez, environmental justice organizer for the Sierra Club in Puerto Rico, told ThinkProgress. And “there are other people who have started to understand the energy issue because of their lack of power. Since we’ve been giving out solar lights, people have a better understanding of how solar power works and it’s easier to convince them that clean energy solutions are the way to go.”