Army Corps of Engineers awards first major Puerto Rico power grid repair contract
SAN JUAN – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has awarded the first of a series of major contracts toward the repair of Puerto Rico’s power grid, according to a statement issued Monday.
The contract for $35.1 million has been awarded to Weston Solutions, to repair the Palo Seco Plant, one of the main power providers to the city of San Juan, which was shut down recently after a report found it to be unsafe.
“This is an important step in our effort to restore power to Puerto Rico,” Brig. Gen. Diana Holland, South Atlantic Division commander, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing these efforts to bring normalcy to the people of the Commonwealth.”
Repairing the electric grid is a process that includes four main efforts: providing temporary emergency power and spot generation for critical facilities; ensuring adequate generation at powerplants; reinstalling and repairing transmission lines; and restoring and repairing distribution lines.
USACE has partnered with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa), the Department of Energy and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish a collaborative effort in the repair of the power grid. The governor has said he wants to transform the utility because the power grid is too fragile.
By providing emergency generation capacity to the Palo Seco plant, more customers will be provided service while repairs to the nearby transmission lines are completed.
The Pennsylvania-based company will provide a 50 megawatt generator, which will arrive in Puerto Rico shortly. Installation will begin immediately upon arrival, USACE said.
The corps received the mission assignment from FEMA to lead in the planning, coordination and integration efforts to carry out the island power grid’s repair following Hurricane María.