Bill refiled in Congress to develop renewable energy in PR, USVI

By John McPhaul

U.S. Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Darren Soto (D-Fla.), along with Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón (R-P.R.) and Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S.V.I.), reintroduced the “Renewable Energy for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Act” last week, legislation that seeks to help communities develop and use renewable energy sources.

According to a press release from González Colón, the measure announced Wednesday creates a grant program for investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, a smart grid, and microgrid projects, as well as training for local residents.

The grant would be awarded to nonprofit organizations, and national laboratories under the Department of Energy could provide technical assistance, the members of the U.S. House of Representatives said in a written communication.

“The worsening climate crisis has revealed the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to dangerous natural disasters. We introduced this bill for the first time after the impact of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in 2017. We did it with the desire to prevent the months-long power outages that the islands experienced after the hurricanes,” Lieu said.

“Beyond that, we wanted to help Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands become leaders in clean and renewable energy, while ensuring that their networks were strengthened in the event of another hurricane or disaster. Now is a crucial time for us to invest in our communities and the future of our country by creating clean jobs in renewable energy. Climate change is the greatest threat to our world, and it is one that we should face head-on.”

“The Renewable Energy for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Act works to solve a critical problem facing our communities, especially after being affected by major disasters; that of an obsolete and inefficient electric power infrastructure,” González Colón said.

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