Natural disasters in recent memory have posed significant challenges to Puerto Rico’s electrical grid and the more than three million residents it serves. In September 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused most of the transmission and distribution system in Puerto Rico to collapse, leading to one of the longest blackouts in U.S. history and leaving residents in some parts of the territory without electricity for almost a year. Merely five years later, Hurricane Fiona again knocked out 100% of the grid for as long as four weeks in parts of Puerto Rico, underscoring the critical need for urgent electrical grid modernization in the region.
In response to the crisis reignited by Hurricane Fiona, President Biden tapped Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to create the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Puerto Rico Grid Recovery and Modernization Team. Housed within the Grid Deployment Office (GDO) and led by Agustín Carbó, this team works across federal government agencies – including but not limited to the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, and Agriculture; Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); and Environmental Protection Agency – to cut through bureaucratic red tape and access federal funding, coordinate technical assistance, and support current rebuilding activities in an expeditious and strategic manner. The team also works closely with government leadership and energy stakeholders in Puerto Rico to speed up the deployment of critical infrastructure and provide the island with clean, reliable, and affordable power.
Official news published at https://www.energy.gov/articles/2023-year-review-advancing-puerto-ricos-grid-recovery-and-modernization