The Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office (GDO) will present a virtual event introducing the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF) on March 23, 2023. There will be two webinars:
- English Webinar: 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET/AT
- Spanish Webinar: 2:30 – 3:30 PM ET/AT
The webinars will provide an overview of the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund’s Request for Information, a call for public comment from stakeholders. Registration for the webinars is open now. They do require pre-registration.
Feedback on the new initiative should be sent via email to PuertoRicoGDO@hq.doe.gov by 5:00 p.m. EST on April 21, 2023.
The Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF) is a government-led initiative designed to promote energy resilience across the island of Puerto Rico. The fund was established in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, which left the island without power for months, highlighting the urgent need for a more resilient and sustainable energy infrastructure.
Since its creation in 2018, PR-ERF has been working to support renewable energy projects, microgrids, and other initiatives that can help to reduce the island’s dependence on fossil fuels and build a more resilient energy system. PR-ERF has recently been allocated a one billion dollar fund designed to improve the resilience of the electrical system in Puerto Rico, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable residents. The GDO has specified groups like households including people with disabilities, multi-family dwellings in low-income areas, and providers of critical services.
One of the key goals of PR-ERF is to increase the use of renewable energy sources in Puerto Rico. The island currently relies heavily on imported oil to generate electricity, which makes it vulnerable to price fluctuations and supply chain disruptions. By investing in renewable energy projects such as solar and wind power, PR-ERF aims to reduce Puerto Rico’s dependence on fossil fuels and create a more sustainable and reliable energy infrastructure. This can include rooftop solar installations and energy storage.
Another possibility is the development of microgrids. A microgrid is a localized energy system that can operate independently of the main power grid, making it more resilient to power outages and other disruptions. Puerto Rico is particularly vulnerable to power outages due to its location in the Caribbean, where it is frequently hit by hurricanes and other severe weather events. By developing microgrids, PR-ERF is helping to ensure that critical infrastructure such as hospitals and emergency services can continue to function even during a widespread power outage.
In addition to supporting renewable energy and microgrid projects, PR-ERF also provides funding for research and development into new energy technologies. This includes projects aimed at developing more efficient energy storage systems, as well as initiatives focused on improving energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption. By investing in research and development, PR-ERF is helping to create a more sustainable energy future for Puerto Rico, while also fostering innovation and economic growth.
The request for Information lists many questions that stakeholders might choose to address. These range from how to deal with high up-front costs to who should own the improvements to individual homes, to the choice of metrics for success.
PR-ERF states that they have a commitment to “principles of equity and justice,” and they express this in their focus on community engagement. Some of the discussion includes the possibilities for working with already existing companies on the Island as well as providing training for future workers in this field
The webinars will help participants understand how to respond to the RIF.