Scaling Resilient Energy Resources for Critical Facilities
Invitation-Only Summit Addresses Climate Change
We participated in an invitation-only summit to address climate change in Puerto Rico. The summit, Scaling Resilient Energy Resources for Critical Facilities, was hosted by Resilient Power Puerto Rico (RPPR) in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico, and Rocky Mountain Institute.
These partnerships aim to empower local communities and energy stakeholders in Puerto Rico to deploy renewable energy microgrids–power generation systems that can operate connected or disconnected from the grid–to serve critical facilities across the island. Once deployed, these microgrids ensure that vital health, emergency, social, and economic services operate continuously, even after major disruptions.
During the summit, leaders from across Puerto Rico, in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors worked together to define an implementation plan to scale cost-effective renewable energy systems to power critical facilities in Puerto Rico. Some of the pressing questions that were discussed in the summit included:
- Are the expanded definition and preliminary inventory inclusive enough?
- How should we prioritize investments to achieve the greatest impact?
- What is the role of communities in these initiatives? How do we best support them?
- How can we ensure the operation and maintenance of these systems?
- How can these efforts support job creation and training in Puerto Rico?
- What financial models and ownership structures can be tested and scaled?
One of the major goals of the summit was to expand the definition for critical facilities, building upon FEMA’s traditional definition–which focuses on public facilities that provide essential services during and after a disaster–to include and recognize the importance of other types of infrastructure that provide social services, general well-being, and the continuation of fundamental economic activity in the community. Under this expanded definition, the summit identified more than 20,000 critical facilities across Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, and estimated that the total investment needed to provide renewable energy to these facilities is nearly $3 billion.
The solutions for resilient energy must be inclusive, equitable, and beneficial for all Puerto Ricans. The summit is one of the many discussions and intiatives planned by RPPR to address climate change in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.