Puerto Rico Is Going Green, Aims To Be All Renewable By 2050

"Today is a win for all Puerto Ricans."

While the climate change debate rages throughout the United States, Puerto Rico just passed its own environmentally-friendly energy bill.

The bill, called the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act, aims to turn Puerto Rico's energy grid completely renewable by the year 2050. It passed with resounding support in the Puerto Rican Senate — a 21 to 4 vote — and is expected to be signed by Governor Ricardo Rosselló in the next few weeks. 

The Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act comes a year and a half after the U.S. territory was decimated by Hurricane Maria. Following the storm, power outages across the island were one of the biggest threats to Puerto Rican's livelihoods and economy. Now, the Puerto Rican government is hoping to bring the island into the future by creating new energy sources. Its plan includes a ban on coal plants by 2028 and the installation of solar energy systems for private and industrial use. 

There are various financial incentives included in the bill to push people towards renewable energy use, like a major tax break for solar electric storage equipment, according to Forbes

"This bill is a huge step in building a sustainable future for Puerto Rico," Senator Eduardo Bhatia, a leading proponent of the bill, told Forbes. "Now we can move forward in developing an economy built on strong foundations that will provide more opportunities for future generations. By embracing renewable energy, our islands can reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, benefitting both the natural environment and our economy."

Along with the threat of natural disasters to the power grid, Puerto Rico was also motivated to pass the bill by its exorbitant electricity costs. Puerto Rico has the highest costs of electricity anywhere else in the United States. 

"Today is a win for all Puerto Ricans," Lynn Jurich, the CEO of the solar company Sunrun, said in a press release. "Leaders like Governor Rosselló have embraced clean energy technology like home solar and batteries ever since the deadly hurricanes in 2017 devastated the island and its entire electricity grid. This critical legislation will create local jobs, grow the economy, and enable even more Puerto Ricans to have access to clean, resilient, reliable energy for their homes."

Cover image via  mikolajn / Shutterstock.


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