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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

LUMA Energy discusses microgrids in Vieques & Culebra

In Vieques, a proposed microgrid energy system would have the capacity to generate up to 12 megawatts, while in Culebra, the photovoltaic system would produce about three megawatts.

By The Star Staff

LUMA Energy, the private operator of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority transmission and distribution system, stated Tuesday that its officials recently met with representatives of Vieques and Culebra to discuss installing microgrid systems in the offshore island municipalities.

“The United States Department of Energy coordinated these meetings with the participation of the Sandia National Laboratory, and their purpose is to involve the residents of both communities in the plans for the development of these projects,” the private grid operator emphasized in a letter.

“These microgrids aim to provide more resilience to the island municipalities and facilitate the introduction of renewable energy sources and energy storage with batteries,” LUMA said. “In this way, Vieques and Culebra could produce enough energy to serve all their customers in the event of an emergency or reduce the impact on the grid during normal operations.”

In February, officials announced that the construction of the microgrids had advanced under the consideration of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after receiving approval from the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau. The initiative is being promoted by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The estimated cost is $122.2 million -- $81.4 million for the Vieques microgrid and $40.8 million for the system in Culebra.

Both systems would operate primarily on solar energy. In Vieques, the microgrid would have the capacity to generate up to 12 megawatts (MW), while in Culebra, the photovoltaic system would produce about 3 MW.

Separately, LUMA announced that service interruptions on the main island could occur due to planned improvements.

For example, there will be replacement and repair of power lines and equipment in Utuado (Lomas Colón neighborhood, mayor’s office, Fernando L. García residential complex, La Mula sector, Matadero, Jardines de Bubao urbanization, Lomas de Bubao residential area, Cercadillo sector, Alturas de Urb. Utuado, Paso Palma I school, Parcelas Riera, Candito Silta sector, Las Cuevas sector, Reparto Lucber sector), and Arroyo (Urb. Jardines de Arroyo).

In addition, work will be performed to reinforce utility poles in Guánica (Oasis neighborhood), San Juan (Urb. Santa María), and new construction work will be performed in Puerto Nuevo Norte (Diego Avenue), San Juan.

Substations in Corozal (Cuba Libre neighborhood, Abraham Lincoln School, Manuel Boi Galí school, Enrique Landrón residential complex, Casco Urbano sector, Los Ramos sector, Urb. El Centro, Urb. Monterrey, Mavilla sector, Urb. María del Carmen Extension, Arturo Morales sector, Cuchillas sector, Los Guayanos sector, Los Quiles sector, Sico Martínez sector, Plaza Aquarium, Chárriez sector, Lomas García sector and Los Sánchez sector, among other sectors) are also being restored and modernized.

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