Puerto Rico moves to make island run on completely green energy by 2050

Puerto Rico moves to make island run on completely green energy by 2050
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The Puerto Rican government is considering committing the island to a 100 percent renewable energy grid by 2050, according to a new plan introduced Wednesday.

The plan, introduced as an adjustment to the territory’s energy bill by Governor Ricardo Rosselló, specifies that the island will stop the use of coal for electricity by 2028, prioritizing solar instead. The bill also would exempt solar panels for energy storage from sales tax.

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The bill “will guide a resilient, reliable and robust energy system, with fair rates and reasonable for all classes of consumers, making it possible for the user of the energy service to produce and participate in the generation of energy, facilitate interconnection of distributed generation and micro networks, and disaggregate and transform the electrical system to an open one,” according to the draft text.

Additionally, the energy bill would end the monopoly status of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the island's utility that declared bankruptcy last July following devastation in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Large swaths of Puerto Rico were without power for months as a result of the destruction of the island’s electric grid more than a year ago.

Following its electricity woes, Puerto Rico announced in January it was moving to privatize its grid in an effort to improve its "deficient service.”

In a video Rosselló posted to Facebook, the governor called PREPA "a great burden for our people, who today are hostage to its deficient service and high costs." The island’s power system is 28 years older than the average U.S. system.

The latest legislation follows a number of other U.S. states and districts that are pushing to run their electric grids solely by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydro.

California, in September, signed into law a goal of achieving completely renewable energy by 2045. Washington, D.C., is considering a similar electric bill that would make the city fully reliant on green energy by 2032.