Puerto Rico’s Energy Transition

Puerto Rico has committed to meeting its electricity needs with 100% renewable energy by 2050, along with realizing interim goals of 40% by 2025, 60% by 2040, the phaseout of coal-fired generation by 2028, and a 30% improvement in energy efficiency by 2040 as established in Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act (Act 17). To meet these goals and support widespread end-use electrification, Puerto Rico is exploring renewable energy and other generation technologies for energy storage, distributed generation, distribution control, electric vehicles, and energy efficient and responsive loads that can be deployed in each of Puerto Rico’s cities and communities.

The PR100 Study

Since Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, a team of national laboratories has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to provide Puerto Rico energy system stakeholders with tools, training, and modeling support to enable planning and operation of the electric power grid with more resilience against further disruptions.

Launched on February 2, 2022, a two-year study entitled Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transitions to 100% Renewable Energy (PR100) will perform a comprehensive analysis of stakeholder-driven pathways to Puerto Rico’s clean energy future. The robust and objective energy analysis entails five activities, with an emphasis on power system reliability, resilience, and generation planning.

A breakdown of the five steps of the PR100 process.

Activity 1—Responsive Stakeholder Engagement and Energy Justice. The foundation of this study is extensive engagement with Puerto Rico energy system stakeholders to inform the development of scenarios to meet the Commonwealth’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050. Energy justice considerations and climate risk assessments will be incorporated into the studies’ modeling efforts. This activity will develop four initial scenarios to achieve the goals Puerto Rico established in Act 17.

Activity 2—Data Gathering and Generation. Scenario decisions require high-quality input data such as resource potential and detailed demand projections, including load shapes and expected load flexibility, distributed energy resource adoption, etc. Data-gathering and generation efforts will accurately assess generation and transmission portfolios.

Activity 3—Scenario Generation and Capacity Evaluation. Based on stakeholder input and data from previous activities, detailed feasible scenarios will be selected to achieve the renewable energy goals established in Act 17. Capacity expansion analysis of the scenarios will optimize the generation, transmission, and storage portfolios to meet resilience, reliability, affordability and safety objectives, and resource adequacy analysis will assess adequacy of system capacities to meet contingencies. Production cost modeling will simulate resource dispatch based on cost and system constraints for energy generation, storage, and flexible loads (including demand management).

Activity 4—Impacts Modeling and Analysis. Power flow and dynamic analysis will help system operators to understand the implications of 100% renewable electricity on system resilience, reliability, and stability in the system models of feasible scenarios. Distribution system analysis will identify the impacts of these various scenarios on distribution system reliability (e.g., effects on voltage margins, power quality, and protection). The microeconomic and macroeconomic impacts of each scenario will be evaluated and incorporated into the final deliverables.

Activity 5—Reports, Visualizations, and Outreach. This activity encompasses integrated data management and visualization, reports and outreach, and an implementation roadmap for the utility to implement the study recommendations.

Key Outputs of the PR100 Study
Six Months: Four initial scenarios to achieve Puerto Rico goals. (June 2022)
Twelve months: Three feasible scenarios with high-level pathways, refined from the original four. (December 2022)
Twenty-four months: Report and associated outreach materials, including workshops, web-based communications, and immersive visualizations, presenting the results of the component tasks and describing possible scenarios. (December 2023)

Contributors

  • Federal Agencies: The project is led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s, Office of Electricity funded through an interagency agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • National Laboratories: World-class analysis performed by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (lead lab) with Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.
  • Steering Committee: Federal recovery funders and local public implementers (e.g., the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, LUMA Energy, Puerto Rico Energy Bureau [PREB], and the Puerto Rico Department of Housing) help guide DOE’s portfolio of technical assistance projects.
  • Advisory Group: A panel of stakeholders convenes regularly to provide relevant external perspectives to the national laboratories. Sectors represented include academia, community-based organizations, private solar and storage developers, the business community, and municipalities.

Visit the DOE Puerto Rico Energy Recovery and Resilience webpage for more information on the department’s activities supporting Puerto Rico. NREL’s ongoing and past activities to support energy planning in Puerto Rico, including publications, tools, and other resources, is available on the lab’s Multi-Lab Energy Planning Support for Puerto Rico webpage.