Rebuilding the Caribbean’s Energy

A natural disaster such as a hurricane can be very disruptive to a nation’s economy and destroy it’s infrastructure. Hurricanes Irma and Maria have had devastating effects on energy systems in Puerto Rico and other islands. Many residents of the islands are not expected to regain power for about four to six months. With many of the energy grids having been destroyed, these islands now have an opportunity to rebuild and overhaul their infrastructure.

The Caribbean Islands have some of the highest energy costs in the world because of their reliance on importing fossil fuels. This is a great opportunity for these islands to make the switch to renewable forms of energy. Doing so would decrease emissions from the islands and significantly decrease their energy costs. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that modernizing energy would increase energy resilience, which measures how resilient an energy system is to an event such as a natural disaster.

One proposed solution for the Caribbean is installing microgrids. Microgrids use technologies such as large-scale batteries, solar panels, energy monitoring and control software. When microgrids were introduced, they were unproven and very expensive, however microgrids are now an affordable and feasible option for the rebuilding Caribbean islands. Caribbean governments could rebuild their energy infrastructure using clean energy with the added benefit of improved resiliency without raising rates.

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