EDITORIAL

Renewable energy for Puerto Rico

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Science  05 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6410, pp. 7
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav5576

Summary

Puerto Rico is not prepared for another hurricane. A year ago, Hurricane María obliterated the island's electric grid, leading to the longest power outage in U.S. history. This disrupted medical care for thousands and contributed to an estimated 2975 deaths. The hurricane caused over $90 billion in damage for an island already in economic crisis. Although authorities claim that power was restored completely, some residents still lack electricity. Despite recovery efforts, the continued vulnerability of the energy infrastructure threatens Puerto Rico's future. But disruptions create possibilities for change. Hurricane María brought an opportunity to move away from a fossil fuel–dominant system and establish instead a decentralized system that generates energy with clean and renewable sources. This is the path that will bring resilience to Puerto Rico.