Green energy producers: PREPA governing board caved in to fiscal board

By John McPhaul

The Renewable Energy Producers Association (APER by its Spanish acronym) called the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) governing board “incapable” of defending its actions before the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB), while pointing to the utility’s failure to implement the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act.

“PREPA’s governing board surrendered and stopped defending the renewable energy projects it approved, leaving in limbo the renewable energy public policy already established by Law 17-2019,” said APER Executive Director Julián Herencia. “Given the FOMB’s rejection of the more than 590 megawatts of generation from solar energy, the PREPA governing board, after acknowledging, in a letter sent to the FOMB, that that rejection is illegal, incorrect and unjust, has dropped to its knees at the whim of the [oversight] board and has become paralyzed without defending its actions.”

The APER noted in a written statement that the oversight board’s rejection of renewable energy projects goes against the island’s public policy on energy and was based on a certified fiscal plan that used obsolete and incorrect data and inputs in its cost models.

It also maintains that PREPA’s governing board did not incorporate into the plan submitted to the oversight board the latest data provided by experts the governing board itself had hired, on the marketing and competitiveness of renewable energy in Puerto Rico. Therefore, it is not surprising that the certified fiscal plan does not reflect the reality of the market in Puerto Rico, the APER said.

“But what is surprising is that -- although that same information was considered and incorporated by the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) in the evaluation and approval of these projects -- to date the governing board has not submitted the proper amendments to the fiscal plan so that it conforms to what the PREB has already accepted and incorporated,” including the elimination of the conversion of the Palo Seco generation plant in Toa Baja, Herencia emphasized.

The APER also noted that the Integrated Resource Plan approved by the PREB includes significant changes. However, the association alleges that PREPA continues to delay the process, without showing signs of updating its fiscal plan, or complying with its commitments, and exposing itself to future legal disputes.

The APER demanded that PREPA’s governing board fulfill its fiduciary duty and address the unfair, illegal and incorrect position of the oversight board through a motion to Judge Laura Taylor Swain to prevent the board from interfering with the energy public policy of the Puerto Rico government. This way, the green energy advocacy group said, the development of the 593 megawatts of power generation from renewable sources renegotiated by PREPA and approved by the PREB can continue, as it did successfully in 2017 when the oversight board tried to usurp public policy by imposing Noel Zamot as receiver of PREPA.

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