Court grants request for information on green energy projects
By The Star Staff
The San Juan Superior Court granted on Wednesday a request from a group of environmental organizations to obtain information on 18 industrial-scale renewable energy projects approved this year by the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB).
The projects are part of the planned transformation of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to renewable energy sources.
The PREB objected to disclosing details on the projects because they were supposedly “confidential” information.
Judge Anthony Cuevas Ramos said there was no controversy about whether the requested information was public, but rather about when it should be delivered. Through the ruling, the court determined that the information be delivered to the plaintiff organizations.
“Judge Anthony Cuevas has given a verdict for the truth and transparency that is sorely lacking in this country,” said Marissa Reyes, coordinator of El Puente-Latin Link for Climate Action (ELAC), in a written statement. “With this information we can advocate for our farm and conservation lands to stay that way. We have enough skies to produce our energy in a decentralized manner and at fair and accessible costs. We hope to always have the support of citizens to continue advocating for a fair and accessible Puerto Rico.”
Víctor Alvarado, from the Environmental Dialogue Committee, stated that “there must be transparency” on the part of the government in industrial energy projects that have the potential to destroy thousands of agricultural acres and affect communities.
“Behind the ‘confidential information’ that government agencies argue about in processes with private companies, corruption, conflicts of interest and contamination always hide, actions that end up affecting the health, safety and life of many families,” Alvarado added.
It was after signing power purchase and operating agreements (PPOAs) with nine of the firms on June 30 that the PREB revealed that it had signed PPOAs with the following firms: Tetris Power, which operates a 20-megawatt (MW) solar park in Arecibo at a projected cost of $30 million; Coamo Convergent Energy Storage, which is operating a 100 MW solar park in Coamo for a projected cost of $120 million; CS-UR Juncos, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar, which is slated to operate a 100 MW solar farm in Juncos and Las Piedras; Pattern Vega Baja Solar, which is operating a 25 MW solar park the cost of which is estimated at some $50 million; Solaner Puerto Rico One, a subsidiary of Alener, which is operating a 35 MW solar park in San Germán; Ciro Two Salinas, with a 33 MW solar farm in Salinas; Guayama Solar Energy, with a 25 MW solar park in Guayama whose cost is estimated at $41 million; Pattern Barceloneta Solar, a 60 MW solar plant in Barceloneta; and YNF Yabucoa Solar, a 20 MW solar park in Yabucoa.
The organizations that sued requesting access to public information are: El Puente, the Environmental Dialogue Committee, United Front for the Defense of the Lajas Valley, Boricuá Organization, Caborrojeños Committee for Health and the Environment, and Puerto Rico Model Forest Multisectoral Table.