When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, many of its three million residents were without power for nearly a year. Some 3,000 lives were lost — most of the people who died passed away in the aftermath of the Hurricane, while the electric grid was down. Join us in telling FEMA to ensure that its investments in Puerto Rico's energy grid that will prevent this from happening again.
It didn’t have to be this way — sustainable and resilient options are available. The Alliance for Renewable Energy Now, a grassroots coalition composed of ten groups in Puerto Rico, is proposing to use the $10 billion that FEMA has allocated to Puerto Rico to make the energy system climate-resilient, safer, and more affordable than the current imported fuel-dependent status quo that remains highly vulnerable during hurricanes and earthquakes.
Despite this, Puerto Rico’s electric utility company, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), and a private consortium called LUMA Energy from the U.S. and Canada are moving forward with a plan that would take the FEMA money and use it to maintain the outdated electricity system, which is based on burning oil, gas, and coal. Yet, LUMA will not invest any of its own money on the project.
This plan to continue using fossil fuels doesn’t comply with Puerto Rico's 20-year energy plan to prioritize clean energy, nor with legislation that requires Puerto Rico to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2050. LUMA and PREPA’s plan would sustain a dilapidated system that prioritizes dirty energy, would not be climate-resilient, and would remain prone to service disruptions. It wouldn’t even save money! Research shows that rooftop solar energy and storage could be installed on houses and buildings throughout Puerto Rico to provide four times more energy than needed at a lower cost than LUMA and PREPA’s plan.
This is a matter of economic justice and climate justice. Propping up outdated, fossil fuel-dependent transmission line technology that left most of Puerto Rico without power for nearly a year after Hurricane Maria in 2017 is unacceptable. Tell FEMA to make sure its money funds the climate-resilient plan that Puerto Rico needs.