• The Star Staff

Green energy producers call new RFP rules for island projects an ‘outrage’

By The Star Staff

The Renewable Energy Producers Association (APER by its Spanish acronym) on Tuesday attacked new requirements for requests for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy projects in Puerto Rico, calling them “an outrage and exclusionary” toward small and medium-sized companies.

The group also stated that neither the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board nor the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) have yet answered APER’s proposals regarding the errors indicated in the fiscal plan.

“It is more than clear that the imposition of these new requirements is nothing more than an act of retaliation against APER’s accusations and our insistence on obtaining answers,” APER Executive Director Julián Herencia said in a statement. “Transparency should be decisive in these processes and that is what we have had the least of over these past months.”

“As entrepreneurs in search of sustainable renewable energy development for Puerto Rico, we are fed up with the obstacles that we constantly face,” he added. “It is time for the [oversight] Board, PREPA and the government to focus their efforts for the benefit of our residents and to put private interests aside.”

The new RFP requirements for renewable energy projects include a net worth of $75 million, plus prior experience on projects of no less than 20 megawatts (MW) and three years or more.

On the other hand, and unlike what has been the case with other projects, the new RFP does not require a payment from proponents as a requirement to submit the proposal.

Herencia said the requirements imposed do not guarantee or improve the probability of project success.

He further noted that the oversight board’s attitude and position with regard to Legacy Project developers — to turn the page, look to the future, and invite them to participate in the new RFP — is misleading and disrespectful. He was referring to projects that had already been agreed upon but then were disregarded by officials.

“This accommodative stance of the Board ignores the great efforts that these companies have put into place, as well as the millions of dollars that have been invested in Legacy Projects over the past eight years,” Herencia said. “It is evident that the new impositions seek to disqualify these projects, without even having taken time to respond to the error signals identified in the fiscal plan.”

After PREPA had renegotiated some 16 renewable energy projects, the oversight board rejected them arguing that they would result in higher utility rates. The board told PREPA it could engage in contracts for 150 MW of energy and last week approved two contracts to that effect.

Herencia said the 593 MW that comprise the 16 Legacy Projects do not depend on public funds, fossil fuels or other variable cost elements. They are clean energy projects, free of emissions and pollutants, which also reduce and stabilize the cost of energy for 25 years, in order to replace the purchase of fuel.

The head of APER affirmed that the projects can already begin to be built and that — as soon as they become ready — they have the potential to place Puerto Rico as one of the leaders in the field worldwide, in addition to generating thousands of jobs in the construction and operation sectors, and transforming the power sector.

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