Former Puerto Rico energy regulator joins Environmental Defense Fund
To lead microgrid project aimed at restoring electric grid
SAN JUAN — The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced Thursday that it was establishing its presence in Puerto Rico with Agustín Carbó, formerly from the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, who joined the organization as senior manager.
Based in San Juan, Carbó will oversee the development of what the New York-based nonprofit described as a “community-focused microgrids project, which aims to increase access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity, particularly in rural areas of the island.”
In the announcing release, Daniel Whittle, the senior director of Caribbean Initiatives for EDF, which provides solutions for environmental problems through private-sector partnerships, called Carbó “one of Puerto Rico’s foremost experts on energy and environmental law and policy,” adding that he “intimately understands how the island’s electricity system works and the local concerns associated with it. The potential for this microgrid project to help transform the island’s energy system has never been higher.”
In his role, managing EDF’s Energy program, Carbó is expected to “interact and collaborate with communities, public officials and non-governmental organizations to advance energy reform, finance and technology initiatives to steer Puerto Rico toward a cleaner, more sustainable and more resilient energy future,” according to EDF.
“Strengthening Puerto Rico’s electric system is key to the island’s economic development and to creating a climate-resilient society,” Carbó says in the release. “I am honored to join Environmental Defense Fund and work to empower Puerto Rico’s communities to implement a long term solution to the island’s energy crisis.”
Before joining EDF, Carbó was the first chairman of the Puerto Rico Energy Commission, which is now the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau. He also served as executive director of the Puerto Rico Solid Waste Authority, and held positions at Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.
EDF President Fred Krupp unveiled the organization’s vision to create a “lasting solution to Puerto Rico’s energy crisis” at BlackStart, an energy summit that gathered more than 20 speakers to discuss the challenges the island’s energy system faces.
EDF explained that its approach entails “close collaboration with stakeholders on the island,” is “all-inclusive and combines technology and energy reform with public grants, philanthropic funds and impact-focused private capital to demonstrate the feasibility of low-carbon microgrids.”
Calling them “mini-energy service stations,” EDF said these solar-powered microgrids, although linked to the island’s grid, are designed to work independently during emergencies “to keep the lights on in remote parts of the island.”