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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Pro-solar group: Genera’s fuel optimization plan is illegal

New Fortress Energy founder & CEO Wes Edens

By The Star Staff

Queremos Sol, a group that advocates for the use of rooftop solar energy and storage, warned the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) that Genera PR, the private operator of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s legacy plants, is attempting to increase the island’s use of and dependency on natural gas to financially benefit the parent company, New Fortress Energy (NFE).

Queremos Sol made its remarks as part of a PREB probe into Genera’s fuel plan and Genera’s proposal for the Palo Seco mobile packs and the Mayagüez combustion turbines to use natural gas.

The group brought to the PREB’s attention comments made on May 9, 2024 by Genera directors and officials, on a call to investors, in which the group said they boasted about how the Puerto Rico government was doing exactly as they said and as they expected them to do, in reference to their plans for the use of more natural gas on the island to benefit NFE.

As reported by the STAR then, NFE CEO Wes Edens told investors: “The government has done exactly as we said -- as we thought that they would.”

“When FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] decided to end the contract, the decision was made to not only keep the power plants on and keep them using gas but to also greatly expand the use of natural gas around the island,” the Genera official said.

The group said it has made it known in the past about Genera’s and New Fortress’ plan to increase dependency on natural gas in violation of the mandate for Puerto Rico to draw all its energy from renewable sources by 2050 with the government’s help.

“Who in the government made that decision, which is clearly contrary to the 2020 Integrated Resource Plan and contrary to the objectives of Public Law 17-2019? Was it the PREB?” Queremos Sol spokeswoman Ingrid Vila said. “In response to questions previously raised by the PREB as part of NEPR-MI-2023-004, Genera acknowledged that it received approval on Nov. 8, 2023 to proceed with the ‘efficiency projects.’ Are these the projects Edens is celebrating beforehand with Genera’s and NFE’s investors? As you are aware, the attachment referenced in Genera’s response was deemed confidential, thus we do request that a list of these projects be disclosed and made available in these dockets for public review and comment.”

Furthermore, as expressed by Genera CEO Brannen McElmurray in the May 9 call with investors, to do this they would need to derail Puerto Rico’s mandated renewable energy policy goals, as their business strategy relies on low margins, which requires large volumes and long-term contracts to maximize revenue.

By awarding the privatization contract to Genera, a subsidiary of NFE, the Puerto Rico government, including the PREB, opened the door and handed over Puerto Rico’s generation fleet to a company that has expressed publicly their intent to interfere with Puerto Rico law, Queremos Sol said.

“As the entity empowered by law to protect and defend the public interest on energy matters, the PREB cannot ignore such flagrant declarations, which are clearly detrimental to our archipelago and represent a material obstacle to attaining 100% renewable energy by 2050,” Queremos Sol said.

The group urged the PREB to define pathways to cancel the Genera contract, as the power plants operator has clearly demonstrated that it has a conflict of interest and does not intend to abide by Puerto Rico’s energy laws, in contravention of law, morals and public order.

Queremos Sol submitted a list of questions to the PREB, including why did the entity allow and accept Genera’s fuel optimization plan filing when the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority has yet to approve it and maintains discrepancies with Genera over it?

“The analysis for fuel swap needs to assess generation cost ($/kWh) and thus the O&M cost of generating at Palo Seco and Mayagüez should be added to fuel cost,” Queremos Sol said.

“We also raise concerns as to the natural gas supply contract entered into between NFE and PREPA, which, to our knowledge, was not evaluated by the PREB even though it has considerable cost and energy sector impacts and implications,” the group said. “We thus request that the PREB open a docket and investigation on this matter.”

Queremos Sol also asked the PREB to hold public hearings in Mayagüez, Toa Baja and San Juan regarding the fuel optimization plan and the fuel swap, as communities within these municipalities will be negatively affected by what Genera is proposing and the PREB is considering.

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1 Comment

William Rosa
William Rosa
Jun 10

The debacle with the production and distribution of energy to the Puerto Rican society created by the un-governing of the NNP/PDP is unraveling quickly and in a very dramatic way, perhaps precipitated by the fall of Mr. Pierluisi's government and the discredit of Mrs. J. González.

The actions of these political entities, it's not only irresponsible but it's suicidal if you considerer that the harm they are approving and imposing on PR, it's the same they are imposing on themselves and their families. How confused, ignorant or malicious were these people to conceive and implement a plan that could provoke the destruction of the country as we all know it?

What manager, administrators or even politician from the NPN/PDP concocted…

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