Puerto Rico's Green New Deal
Puerto Rico is considering a bill that would mandate 100% percent renewable energy by 2025. Signed by the legislature on Monday, March 25, the bill would radically transform the island’s economy in the coming decades.
The Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act received bipartisan support and passed Rico’s senate 21 votes to 4. The bill addressed many concerns about Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure after Hurricane Maria took out the entire island’s power in 2017.
Hurricane Maria’s estimated death toll climbed from 64 to 2,975 in the months following the Hurricane, with the increased death toll mostly attributed to the prolonged power outage. Months after the storm, many neighborhoods hadn’t gotten their power supply restored, and Puerto Rico had to undertake a costly project to rewire its energy infrastructure.
Before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico generated most of its energy far away from its population, making its infrastructure vulnerable to downed transmission lines. After the hurricane, solar panels were installed in hospitals, community centers, and sewage treatment centers, so that the facilities could generate their own power when power plants or power lines were damaged.
Currently, Puerto Rico produces 2% of its energy from renewable sources. To reach 100% by 2050, the bill requires that Puerto Rico reach 40% renewable energy by 2025 and 60% by 2040.
If the bill passes, Puerto Rico would be joining other cities and states in America in transitioning to 100% renewable energy. Over 100 cities in America have already committed to switching fully to renewable energy in the future, including Chicago, which has a population of 2.7 million. Hawaii and California also set targets to achieve 100% renewable energy.
Puerto Rico’s bill may become a talking point for the U.S. Democratic party in discussing a national “Green New Deal.” Proponents of the bill have stated that the bill would create local jobs and grow the economy in the process of transforming the energy grid.
Before the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act is enacted, it needs to be signed by governor Ricardo Rosselló, who has already expressed strong support for the plan.