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New York has plan for resilient Puerto Rico's electric power system

Staff Writer |
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced a plan to rebuild and transform Puerto Rico's electric power system, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in September.

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The envisioned system will be more resilient, efficient, advanced, and less dependent on fossil fuel imports that cost Puerto Ricans more than $2 billion annually.

The plan, created by the Puerto Rico Energy Resiliency Working Group established by Governor Cuomo to aid the island in its damage assessment and power grid rebuild planning, calls for the island's new electric power system to be designed with the resiliency to withstand future storms and to be built with modern grid technologies and control systems.

The new system will have increased renewable generation, such as wind and solar; incorporate new distributed energy resource technologies, such as energy storage and microgrids; reduce dependency on fossil fuels; and enable energy to become abundant, affordable and sustainable for the people of Puerto Rico.

The working group's rebuild recommendations are based on experience implementing power system recovery, rebuilding and hardening in the aftermath of hurricanes encountered on the U.S. mainland over the last decade.

The recommendations include the use of modern technology and incorporate lessons learned from the successful rebuild efforts in other regions after natural disasters, such as Superstorm Sandy in New York.

Additionally, the plan's recommendations align with the U.S. Department of Energy's recommendations for power system hardening and resiliency.

Consistent with the observed wind speeds from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority's new system needs to withstand a Category 4 storm, which produces wind speeds of 155 miles/hour and heavy floods.

The plan also calls to modernize the Puerto Rico electric grid, leveraging proven power system technologies to better contain outages, reduce recovery times, lower operations costs and enable more sustainable energy resources.

The development of this plan was undertaken in parallel with New York State's post-hurricane assessment and restoration support to Puerto Rico that began in September.

Currently, more than 450 New York State utilities workers are on the ground in Puerto Rico, working diligently to repair the island's power grid.

New York resources and personnel currently in Puerto Rico arrived in November following two previous deployments of New York Power Authority technical experts to Puerto Rico announced by Governor Cuomo on September 22 and September 29.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, those NYPA electric utility crews embedded themselves within PREPA to assist in the triage of the power grid that included the assessment of virtually all of the island's 360 substations.

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