Saturday, March 23, 2019

2nd Puerto Rico Grid Revitalization & Investment Forum starts Monday

By on January 24, 2019

SAN JUAN – The 2nd Puerto Rico Grid Revitalization & Investment Forum (PR-GRID I), a two-day event that brings together the public and private sectors to answer questions about the rebirth of Puerto Rico’s electric grid, starts Monday at the Verdanza Hotel.

Co-hosted by the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA), PR-GRID II is designed to bring clarity to the planning and funding of the island grid’s revitalization. The event is conceived as “a vital marketplace where commercial, industrial and municipal customers meet and transact with developers of microgrids, mini-grids, solar and storage, CHP [combined heat and power], and mini LNG [liquefied natural gas] solutions,” association President Rodrigo Masses said.

In last year’s forum, an evaluation of what Puerto Rico needs was made. This year, the sector is on more solid footing because the Legislature was ready to approve a new energy policy. “Now the sector has a clear reference on what can be done,” Masses told Caribbean Business.

The goal of the event is for energy project developers to gain knowledge related to their projects and hear what regulators, such as the Energy Bureau, have to say: How the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (Prepa) fiscal and integrated resource (IRP) plans fit into the picture, for example.

One of the highlights of the event will be a discussion on energy cooperatives. In December, the Legislature authorized the establishment of electric cooperatives. The organizers of PR-GRID will hold a forum to explore the implications of the law for municipalities and for the broader grid.

The session features the participation of Jaime Cuevas, one of the promoters of the New Electric Cooperative Law and a key figure in the “Public Collaborative for Puerto Rico Energy Transformation” program organized by the Institute of Competitiveness and Economic Sustainability (ICSE) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). He will be joined by David Callis, EVP of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.

Tomás Torres, the executive director of ICSE, will discuss the new energy policy primer and challenges.

Torres will also join Senate Minority Leader Eduardo Bhatia, Majority Leader Larry Seilhamer and former PDP Sen. Ramón Luis Nieves to talk about the energy legislation and how it relates to Prepa’s IRP.

Prepa’s executive director, José Ortiz, will be part of a panel that will discuss Prepa’s fiscal plan, which was published in August and calls for $12 billion in new capital investments over the next five years, much of which is earmarked for hardening and modernizing the grid.

Edison Aviles, president of the Energy Bureau, which was recently combined into a broader regulatory agency, and other speakers will talk about the lines of jurisdiction drawn between the agency and Prepa, and the bureau’s position on microgrids, distributed generation and renewables.

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