PREPA sidelined in review process for green energy RFPs
By The Star Staff
Because of problems and delays in the delivery of renewable energy projects, the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) has stripped the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) of its oversight authority with respect to the requests for proposal (RFPs) for Tranche 2 renewables.
The PREB, the island’s energy regulator, said it will oversee the RFPs with the help of its independent coordinator.
The PREB said “the process conducted by PREPA in connection with the Tranche 1 RFP suffers from numerous shortcomings and failed to comply with important directives and milestones established in the Approved Integrated Resource Plan (IRP),” which is the island’s long-term energy needs plan.
“If the Energy Bureau takes no further action, the implementation of the renewables procurement plan, as well as the integration of renewable energy into the Puerto Rico electrical grid system to meet the applicable Renewable Portfolio Standard, will be at risk,” the regulator said. “There is an urgent need to properly implement the Approved IRP directives regarding the integration of renewables in order to reform the electrical system and meet the energy public policy goals.”
The decision was made Friday through a resolution, two days after some of the officials expressed objections at a PREPA board meeting when one of the board members, Tomás Torres, said the implementation of renewables can be hastened.
While there have been questions as to whether the power grid can withstand the additional energy from renewables, a recent study found that at least 70% of the distribution cables can accept energy from renewable sources.
In the document, the PREB noted that it has the power and duty to oversee and ensure the execution and implementation of the public policy on electric power service in Puerto Rico to establish and implement regulations and the necessary regulatory actions to guarantee the capacity, reliability, safety, efficiency and reasonability of the rates of Puerto Rico’s electrical system, and to establish the guidelines, standards, practices, and processes to be followed to purchase power, and modernize power plants or electric power generation facilities.
“Further, it has the power to formulate and implement strategies to achieve the energy public policy goals, including, but not limited to, attaining the goals established in the Renewable Portfolio Standard and promoting the storage of energy,” the regulator said. “In sum, the Energy Bureau has broad authority under law to oversee the acquisition of energy resources by PREPA to help ensure that the Energy Public Policy goals are met and that PREPA ratepayers’ interests are protected.”
The PREB said that at this time “PREPA is not presently capable of executing the renewables procurement plan in a manner that satisfies such policy goals and serves electricity customers’ best interests.”
“In sum, PREPA is unable to properly execute the renewables Procurement Plan,” the PREB said. “Under these circumstances, allowing PREPA to conduct Tranche 2 RFPs, without taking the required regulatory actions, would only delay this process without guaranteeing success. Consequently, the Energy Bureau will fill the gap caused by PREPA’s noncompliance.”