Date of this Version
Op-Ed from ENSC 230. Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agricultural Economics, Fall 2022.
Puerto Rico, the United States third largest island, often gets overlooked when hurricane season comes and goes. Where most of the attention goes to the Florida peninsula or East coast, Puerto Rico is still one of America’s closest territories. As part of America’s extended family, Puerto Rico should not be overlooked when natural disasters occur. When these disasters happen, they can have a tremendous impact on the island itself and the people in it. One major concern that has not been truly fixed yet is the energy crisis in Puerto Rico. Whenever storms hit, there is always a possibility of blackouts occurring, where the power is out for several days.
In 2017, when hurricane Maria made landfall it ruined part of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) grid, the island’s then energy distributor. Resulting in many Puerto Ricans using gas generators for over half of that following year. With poor infrastructure to support the new grid, it was only a matter of time before another blackout would occur. That was five whole years ago and even now in 2022, they are still trying to rebuild some damage left over from hurricane Maria, one of the deadliest natural disasters within this century.