Officers mentioned crews will set up the mills earlier than the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1.
“It’s step one in a really, very complicated course of,” mentioned Nancy Casper, a coordinator with the U.S. Federal Emergency Administration Company.
FEMA is paying for 90% of the undertaking and Puerto Rico’s authorities the remaining 10% as a part of a deal reached last year, however each Casper and Pierluisi mentioned the whole price was not but out there as a result of it will rely partially on how lengthy the mills will function.
Puerto Rico solely not too long ago began everlasting repairs on an getting old energy grid razed by Hurricane Maria, a Class 4 storm that struck the island in September 2017. Since then, energy outages have grow to be a typical incidence, disrupting daily life on the island of three.2 million individuals.
The federal authorities has allotted some $12 billion — most of it for the grid reconstruction — however solely 18 everlasting initiatives totaling $88 million have been accomplished as of early March, in keeping with the nonpartisan suppose tank Heart for a New Economic system.
“At this tempo, it will take over 100 years to finish the reconstruction of the Puerto Rico electrical grid,” the middle mentioned in an evaluation printed Thursday.
The facility grid was additional weakened by Hurricane Fiona, a Category 1 storm that hit Puerto Rico’s southwest region in September 2022. It sparked an island-wide blackout and triggered greater than $3 billion in harm to the crumbling electrical system.
“The momentary era is crucial,” Casper mentioned of the brand new mills.
The momentary energy increase will permit crews to take substations, transformers and breakers offline for repairs that might take wherever from 12 to 18 months.
Puerto Rico’s energy grid was already shaky earlier than Hurricane Maria struck, with officers blaming many years of mismanagement and neglect. Its era models are on common 45 years previous, twice these of the U.S. mainland.
The grid’s ongoing issues come as Puerto Rico’s Electrical Energy Authority struggles to restructure greater than $9 billion in debt, the most important of any authorities company. A majority of creditors have yet to reach a deal with a federal management board overseeing the island’s funds regardless of six years of acrimonious negotiations.
In June 2020, the island’s energy firm privatized transmission and distribution operations, and in January, it announced that it had selected a private company to function and preserve its era models.