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23-MW Wind Farm Launched in Puerto Rico

Punta de Lima wind farm at Naguabo near El Yunqe National Forest in eastern coastal Puerto Rico is under construction and nearing the half-way completion mark. Five of the thirteen turbines are in place. An estimated 9,000 homes could be powered by the new wind farm, providing there are consistent winds.

Electricity is expected to be generated for residents beginning in October. Spain’s Gestamp Wind is the company responsible for the farm’s construction. (The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s wind resource map shows high high crest ridges and capes have the best wind potential in Puerto Rico.)

Fossil fuels constitute over 90% of Puerto Rico’s energy sources. About 70% of the island country’s electricity is generated from imported foreign oil.

Consequently, Puerto Ricans pay very high prices for electricity. The nation’s resident commissioner, Pedro R. Pierluisi, has said dependence on foreign oil is the country’s greatest barrier to economic development.

The Puerto Rican government has goals of generating 12% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015. The goal for 2020 is 15%.

According to the report, Achievable Renewable Energy Targets For Puerto Rico’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, about 33% of Puerto Rico’s 2006 total energy consumption could have been met by a combination of solar and wind power, based on the potential for each of those clean energy technologies. While 2006 obviously will probably be different than 2012 and going forward, at least there is one example of the impact clean energy could have.

Image Credit: Jack Morelock, Recinto University of Mayaguez

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