Destruction of Hurricane Maria opens door for renewable energy development in Puerto Rico

Investors in renewable energy are seeing the destruction of Puerto Rico’s electrical system by Hurricane Maria as an opportunity to develop a system based on locally produced solar and wind-based power.

Prior to the hurricane, around half of Puerto Rico’s electricity was generated from imported fuel oil, a third from natural gas and much of the rest from coal, a costly energy mix for the Caribbean island.

Sources of renewable energy supply only 2.4%, although the island has set a goal of obtaining 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2035.

But, with the urgent necessity to rebuild its outdated power system and the prospect of incoming federal financial aid, the time is now for Puerto Rico to modernise its electrical system around clean sources of energy.

One residential solar energy firm with 10,000 customers in Puerto Rico called Sunnova echoed this notion of the existing opportunity to create a new, renewable energy-friendly grid.

“Everybody can agree that what the future and the new power industry and system look like is not what was there before,” said Sunnova’s CEO John Berger to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Tesla is sending supplies of batteries that can store energy created by solar panels in the wake of Maria. The company is yet to announce its future plans for the island.