Many areas throughout the Caribbean were destroyed during the past hurricane season.
The unfortunate situation puts the Caribbean in need, but also presents a unique opportunity.
Puerto Rice’s energy systems were drastically impacted by Hurricane Irma and Maria, and shed light onto an ongoing energy security issue throughout the Caribbean.
There was substantial damage to centralized grids, and many territories and island nations won’t fully recover their electricity services for six months, at the earliest.
Many international business and political influencers have voiced the need to not only help rebuild Caribbean energy infrastructure, but to do sure around clean energy sources.
Project developers are hoping to use more wind and solar resources, and to rebuild with more sustainable, reliable energy infrastructure.
And in this situation, renewable generation works best when paired with microgrids.
Microgrids are now a possible solution due to recent technological advanced in batteries, solar energy systems, and software. Instead of rebuilding the Caribbean infrastructure with imported polluting fuels, the government can rebuild sections of the grid using clean energy without raising rates.
There are wind and solar generation facilities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands that did gracefully survive the storms, but have been left offline because the wires connecting them to the larger grid were destroyed.
If these facilities were connected to a regional microgrid, power could have been restored much quicker.
Many people thought that the use of microgrids was unnecessary in areas that have utility network power available. The recent hurricanes, however, have proven that to be untrue.
To put renewable-energy projects into motion, there needs to be small demonstration projects. And sites that have been left powerless are the best place to create a sustainable network piece by piece.
In the past, development promises were not always kept and there is widespread skepticism of renewable-energy dependability. Government agencies and project developers need to first gain the trust of the region by clearly outlining proposed projects. It is crucial for the local communities to feel involved and well educated during the process.
Local labor, contractors, and suppliers from the regions can be used in every stage in the projects. This not only brings trust, but money into the community.
Hopefully, the organizations and individuals contributing to the rebuilt can ensure a swift execution of clean, resilient energy systems.