Greentech Media: In Blow to Natural Gas, Puerto Rico Regulators Affirm Solar-Centric Grid Overhaul

Shortly after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, speculation began as to whether or not a newly rebuild grid could be powered by with renewable energy.  This from Greentech Media:

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority will be required to acquire thousands of megawatts of renewables and storage in the coming years, according to a Monday order from the island’s energy regulators that also rejected many natural-gas additions included in the utility’s integrated resource plan.

State-owned PREPA presented a preferred scenario that included 1,800 megawatts of solar PV and 920 megawatts of energy storage additions in the coming five years, plus eight minigrids that could be isolated to power certain sections of the island if the electricity system is disrupted.

The Puerto Rico Energy Bureau this week presented a modified plan that included a mix with an even higher proportion of renewables: at least 3,500 megawatts of solar and more than 1,300 megawatts of storage by 2025.

As a proponent of renewables, of course I view this as good news.  I caution, however, that 1.8 GW of solar stands over a lot of ground, and that a hurricane-prone region should consider how that expanse can be protect from repeat damage.

In fact, as I speculated at the time, given the realities of global warming, there may come a time at which certain parts of the globe are deemed to be uninhabitable, as the loss of life and the cost of rebuilding associated with super-storms becomes prohibitive.