The San Juan Daily Star
Green energy incentives to benefit 888 island SMEs
By The Star Staff
Some 888 small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from incentives from the “Energy Support” program of the Energy Public Policy Program (PPPE by its Spanish initials) of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) to help them achieve savings and draw energy from renewable sources.
The announcement was made by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia on Thursday. He had already mentioned the grants in his state of the commonwealth address.
Of the total number of incentives, 297 of the companies are owned by women entrepreneurs, 99 by young entrepreneurs, eight are in Vieques and two are in Culebra.
“These incentives provided by the Energy Public Policy Program of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce are designed to offer relief in energy costs and advance the energy transformation of Puerto Rico,” the governor said. “This program is what we call SMEs to SMEs, which helps to develop both service providers and beneficiaries, both being small or midsize enterprises.”
“My administration is committed to offering all available alternatives to promote renewable energy as a dual strategy that benefits the environment and our economy,” Pierluisi added. “‘Energy Support’ is part of the efforts made to transform energy into a more reliable and resilient one, and advance the public policy established in Act 17 of 2019, promoting the use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. You are going to see a lot more movement in that direction during my administration with the use of federal funds available through CDBG [Community Development Block Grant] and the federal infrastructure law.”
The initiative is aimed at SMEs since they represent a relevant component in the economy and to help them ease rising energy costs.
“Puerto Rico is heading toward the most advanced and eco-friendly energy generation practices in the world,” DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre Miranda said. “Our focus is a resilient, competitive, developed Puerto Rico, a Puerto Rico of opportunities. The issue of energy is an important component of this aspiration. We are sure this will be just the beginning; we invite all the people to join in and aspire to quality and affordable energy.”
The total investment is $37.5 million, including $20 million in incentives and $17.5 million in private funds, and with a projection of $6.6 million in annual savings.
“The average cost of the projects is $42,269. These projects represent a total of 16.8 MW [megawatts] in distributed renewable energy and 2.5 MW in energy storage systems,” Cidre said. “In addition to the integration of renewable energy that is going to be developed, there are 99 projects that include chargers for electric vehicles and 38 include initiatives for energy efficiency. It should be noted that 56 suppliers in the same category of SMEs are the ones that will be carrying out the projects.”
The distribution of the incentive by sector throughout the island was varied, with services being the most benefited (261), followed by stores/retailers (132), restaurants (116), health (113), education (73), manufacturing (50), construction (41), hotels (38), agriculture and food (28), distributors (17), pharmacies (16) and recycling (3).