Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act

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The Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act (PS 1121) is a proposed program to address climate change and put Puerto Rico on the path to reaching 100% renewable energy by 2050. On March 25, 2019, Puerto Rico's legislature passed the bill. [1] [5] [4] [3]

Overview

The Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act is proposed program to transform the island's economy with renewable energy as the central pillar. The territory’s legislature approved Senate Bill 1121 (PS 1121), the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act, which will set the island on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050. The bill pushes the island to become a leader in clean energy technology that can better withstand future hurricanes and improve quality of life for Puerto Ricans. [4] [5] [1]

The bill passed with bi-partisan support with 21 votes to 4 in the Puerto Rican Senate. The bill become law once its signed into law by Governor Ricardo Rosselló in the coming weeks, who has already expressed his strong support for 100% renewable energy as part of his post-Hurricane María recovery vision and plan. Currently standing at just 2% of all electricity generation, renewable energy offers a cheaper alternative in Puerto Rico that can improve resilience to future natural disasters. Currently the majority of Puerto Rico's energy comes from importing fossil fuels, burning the fuel in power plants, and distributing the electricity through a centralized grid. The high cost of importing fuel makes electricity in Puerto Rico twice as expensive as in Florida. The centralized nature of the grid also makes Puerto Rico vulnerable to hurricanes which often take out the whole grid. [1] [5]


The bill's impact is wide-ranging. PS 1121 establishes a 100% renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) by 2050, bans coal plants starting in 2028, provides for automatic interconnection to the grid of customer-sited solar energy systems below 25 kilowatts, and reduces the utility approval time to 90 days for commercial and industrial solar projects. It also creates a 5-year window of full compensation for consumers’ solar energy production and streamlined permitting for utility-scale projects. [1]

The changes are intended to create a more resilient island built upon state of the art technology that transcends the diesel and coal-fired centralized generation electricity model, towards a clean, more decentralized energy system with local, renewable resources at its center. PS 1121 also aims to empower prosumers - customers that both produce and consume energy - with stronger policies on net metering and interconnection of solar, storage and microgrid projects. [1]

Additionally, the PS 1121 bill establishes that solar energy users will have access to net energy metering within one month of a system’s installation, clarifies that the existing net energy metering policy shall be in place for no less than five years, and that new solar consumers will be grandfathered and protected from future policy changes for the next 20 years. The bill also exempts solar electric storage equipment from sales taxes and grants the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau more fiscal autonomy and powers to perform performance-based metrics, among many other innovations. [1]


Key Provisions of PS 1121:

  • 100% renewable energy by 2050 and 40% by 2025. [5] [1]
  • Banning coal power stations starting in 2028.
  • 90-day interconnection for solar net-metered systems 25kW to 5MW.
  • Automatic interconnection & 30-day net-metering for solar under 25kW.
  • A requirement for utilities to purchase solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) for renewable portfolio standard (RPS) compliance.
  • Maintains "true net metering" for the next 5 years, with 20 year grandfathering for new clients.
  • Requires streamlined permitting of utility-scale ground-mounted solar projects for the next 5 years, with 20 year grandfathering for new clients.
  • Eliminates the ability of the utility to deny interconnection because of "full feeder", or “right of way" issues.
  • Eliminates 5-year recertification requirement for net metered systems, with no need for people to go to the utility to get recertified every 5 years as is currently the case.
  • Systems installed under post-Maria Executive Order remain legally interconnected.
  • Bans all solar production taxes and clarifies that Sales & Use Tax Exemption applies to energy storage and leased systems.
  • Implements a 30% energy efficiency requirement.


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