Puerto Rico: Bills Passed to Rescue the Environment and Reduce Energy Costs

Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño energy bills in an aggressive plan to rescue the environment, reduce energy costs, and create thousands of “green” jobs. He says that “We are facing an energy crisis, because of our dependence on oil and an obsolete infrastructure.” The Puerto Rico Daily Sun reports that for every $100 that a Puerto Rican earns, $12 goes to pay for electricity and that “the unbridled use of sources of energy derived from petroleum adds to the volatility of energy costs on the island.” Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

Every year, the cost of petroleum increases and it is expected to continue climbing. This year, we spent more than $5 billion in the importation of combustibles. The first of the measures signed is the “Law for Energy Diversification by Means of Sustainable Renewable Energy.” It sets compulsory targets for reduction in conventional energy use and increased use of renewable energy. Under this portfolio, the law requires us to produce 12 percent renewable energy by 2015 and 15 percent for 2020. Development of a plan to achieve 20 percent energy production from renewable and alternative sources by 2035 is also required. The law creates “renewable energy certificates.” These will be awarded to each energy supplier to produce one megawatt hour of electricity using renewable energy, setting a financial market around this new industry. [. . .]

The second measure is the “Energy Tax Incentives Act of Green Puerto Rico.” This law allows all citizens to contribute to solving the energy problem. Citizens who qualify may receive up to 60 percent cash reimbursement for investment in renewable energy for homes and small businesses, and up to 50 percent for midsize businesses that install energy efficient equipment.

In addition, the bill provides for a Green Energy Fund, which provides $20 million in 2011 and increases to $40 million in five years for a total of $290 million intended to promote this industry. “These two legislative measures will create more than 10,000 green jobs over the next five years and achieve an estimated investment of $4 billion over the next 10 years,” said the governor. At the same time, Fortuño issued an Executive Order to implement faster processes for development projects that promote diversification in the use of alternates to oil, while promoting the use of renewable and alternate energy sources. “This allows us to use available federal credits for certain initiatives, starting alternate energy projects this year,” he said.

To date, the PR Electric and Power Authority has signed contracts with seven companies, investors who are ready and willing to work on renewable energy projects under these new laws. [. . .] [These are] Pattern (Santa Isabel), AES Solar (Guayama), Energy Answers (Arecibo), Sunbeam Caribbean (Barceloneta), Windmar (Guayanilla), GO Green (Naguabo), and IWT (Caguas).

For full article, see http://www.prdailysun.com/news/Governor-signs-three-energy-bills

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