• The Star Staff

RFQ issued for ocean tech industrial park project

By The Star Staff

The Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) and the Puerto Rico Land Administration (PRLA) announced Tuesday the publication of requests for qualifications (RFQ) to identify potential bidders interested in developing the proposed Puerto Rico Ocean Technology Industrial Park (PROTech), a regional industrial park that would generate revenue through manufacturers working with seawater for ocean thermal energy conversion.

“PROTech is an all-encompassing and innovative project that will use water from the Yabucoa coast and the energy it produces to develop multiple eco-friendly and scientific research projects in the southeastern area of Puerto Rico,” DDEC Secretary Manuel Laboy Rivera said in a written statement. “Those interested in presenting their development plans should be highly qualified entities with experience and the ability to design, build, finance, operate and maintain this vanguard project. Since 2017, we have worked hard to build PROTech’s master plan, which will be a starting point to invest in ocean-related industry efforts and create the technologies needed for the transition of conventional energy and fuels, to more responsible and sustainable energy alternatives.”

PROTech’s proposal calls for the development of facilities for the conversion of thermal ocean energy, the development of ocean deep-sea industries, an institute of education and research, and a recreational, cultural and commercial center, as well as a hospital institution, among other components. All of the components will benefit from the energy output of the project.

PRLA Executive Director Dalcia Lebrón Nieves noted that “this innovative concept, which will be the first in the Caribbean and the third in the world, has a master plan that respects nature and promotes eco-environmental initiatives, in accordance with the Administration guidelines.”

“The selected land area in Yabucoa is available for the development of this important project that conceptualizes PROTech,” she said. “We will continue to work as a team with DDEC and other government agencies, as well as with the private sector so that this project begins as soon as possible for the benefit of all Puerto Ricans.”

The DDEC secretary stated that the municipality of Yabucoa was selected because it has the necessary characteristics for developing a project of this scope. He added that for the development of the PROTech’s master plan, a similar project existing in Hawaii was used as a reference. Based on this model, Technical Consulting, Estudios Técnicos, Makai Engineering and Integra conducted a feasibility study. It is estimated that some $300 million will be needed for construction of the project in its entirety.

“Under Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced’s administration, we have implemented various initiatives in accordance with the Public Policy Act of Puerto Rico, which establishes the need to comply with a Renewable Energy Portfolio to reach a minimum of 40 percent renewable energy by or before 2025; 60 percent in or before 2040; 100 percent by or before 2050,” Laboy Rivera said. “This project is very important for achieving these long-term goals.”

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