San Juan, Puerto Rico
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
Thank you, Agustin. Thank you all for being here.
So many of those in this room have been instrumental in getting us to where we are right now with this study over the past two years. And I just want to acknowledge you, personally. And as I go through, if you're on Zoom, you know, feel free to announce yourself on the chat.
If you are from the Hispanic Federation, please stand and allow us to give you applause for their incredible work.
Thank you. If you are from Governor Pierluisi’s team, please stand. Some of them are already standing on the side.
I mean you too, Gov! Bravo for the work we have done together. Thank you.
If you're from the Advisory Group or the Steering Committee, please stand. A big group!
Yes! Thank you so much. And of course, I know that Agustin already acknowledged the National Labs. But if you are from any of the National Labs that worked on this study, please stand.
Yes, look at them! Thank you. Thank you so much.
I'm going to be very brief here, because we want to get to the juice. And I know that folks in this room know the story of PR100 backwards and forwards.
But we also have hundreds of people who are watching virtually who might benefit just from a brief refresher.
We all know, of course, in 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Puerto Rico energy system. And the destruction was unimaginable.
But despite, and because, and amid the heartbreak, Puerto Ricans also saw an amazing opportunity to build a new energy system that was resilient, and independent, and clean.
And in response, two big things happened.
The federal government allocated to Puerto Rico billions of dollars to rebuild the grid.
And then in 2019, the people of Puerto Rico enshrined a new goal, which was 100% clean energy, renewable energy, by 2050, into law.
So, at the Department of Energy, our assignment was to help align those efforts, particularly the future grid. And thanks to our partners at FEMA, we launched the PR100 study.
An incredible amount of work has gone into this over the past two years.
We've, for example, applied the modeling capabilities, the analysis, from our Labs—the best in the world. The world's fastest supercomputers allowed us to model the complex Puerto Rico energy system in record-breaking time.
We also partnered with local entities—thank you for those who are watching who participated in that—like the Hispanic Federation, the University of Puerto Rico, our advisory group, to make sure that our work reflected the priorities of people in Puerto Rico across, on the ground, in the mountains…throughout the island, I'll just say.
And today, I am pleased that we are coming to you with answers.
So I know Agustin said this too, but this is the applause line, y'all: If you take away anything from today, Puerto Rico, know that Puerto Rico's 100% clean energy future is 100% possible.
Yes. Now, you'll hear a lot of facts. And you'll see that there are places we've got to work.
For example, we want to make sure that we get to 40% by 2025—40% clean energy. That’s going to be—we're working hard. And we've got to work on that even harder.
We want to make sure that as we go through, rates are not impacted. And that's very, very important.
This, this serves, this study serves as a call to action for future actions. It does—you know, we've been listening to the study in its draft form as we've gone along.
And we have been taking action—like making sure that battery storage is added to the grid…
Making sure we have our Programa Acceso Solar, which is a billion dollars that Congress gave us to put on rooftop solar for the most disadvantaged…
Vivienda is doing a similar program to make sure that we have access on the island for the most disadvantaged people, especially last-mile communities, people who are medically, who are dependent on devices that require electricity, et cetera.
All of these actions that we're taking is because we've been informed by what this study was going to say.
So, very important to know that we must—while this is possible, 100%, it is not going to happen on its own.
We have to roll up our sleeves, we have to get this done together. It is a call to action for all of us. Right? Yes.
So I'm thrilled to be here, to help introduce this. I'm going to hand this back to Charlotte. But I am 100% all in, on behalf of President Biden, and the Biden administration.
We are partners with Puerto Rico in making sure that you achieve your goal of 100% renewable energy on a resilient grid.
Thank you so much.