Wood Mackenzie is partnering with the Let’s Share The Sun Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity that focuses on helping the poorest get access to electricity. The foundation uses solar energy as a solution to helping poor communities throughout the world who live without power by installing solar power in places that have access to the sun but no access to basic resources.
The global energy consultancy sent a team of three analysts to Puerto Rico to help the foundation install solar panels on homes as part of its new initiative with the charity. They are working with local workers and volunteers to install a total of 60 solar panels on five homes that do not have access or have little access to the electricity grid.
Wood Mackenzie is supporting the charity, and the trip is just a part of this new partnership. The group is also fundraising, volunteering, and lending its expertise in the renewables sectors to share its knowledge of distributed renewable generation with local utilities in Puerto Rico as well as other regions served by the foundation.
Wood Mackenzie’s Director of Americas Power & Renewables Research, Luke Lewandowski, is a champion of the initiative and shared his thoughts in the following statement:
“Having spent my career in renewable energy and now the energy transition space, the needs of people in remote areas, who struggle with affordable and reliable energy access, struck a chord with me.
“Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico in 2017, damaged 80% of the territory’s power grid. The prospect of improvement is poor with limited capital, infrastructure challenges and the increasing risk of intense weather events caused by global warming. We see an opportunity with Let’s Share the Sun to help local communities gain access to clean, sustainable energy — something that most of us take for granted.”
In a press release, Wood Mackenzie touched upon Puerto Rico’s commitment to meeting its electricity needs with 100% renewable energy by 2050. Last month, the government of Puerto Rico along with three US federal agencies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to align federal funds with local policies. Those three federal agencies were the Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, and Housing and Urban Development. The group plans to complete a two-year study, Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transitions to 100% Renewable Energy, in 2023. The study will analyze how Puerto Rico can reach 100% renewables by 2050. Of this, Lewandowski pointed out that 2022 would be a year of action.
“The US government is promising that 2022 will be a ‘year of action’ in the transition to 100% clean energy in Puerto Rico and the team at Wood Mackenzie is very pleased to contribute with time, knowledge, and fundraising.
“This trip kickstarts our initiative with Let’s Share the Sun.
“As well as physical support installing solar arrays, we will be hosting energy-transition-related webinars to raise awareness and funds, and our employees are donating and holding fundraising events which are match-funded by Wood Mackenzie and our parent company Verisk.”
Let’s Share The Sun is working on a project with Casa Pueblo, which is a community-based organization promoting environmental protection while also advocating for solar energy throughout the Adjuntas. Casa Pueblo has assisted with evaluating over 200 homes in the project and also in the selection of recipients.
The foundation pointed out that residents of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, have only limited access to electrical power through the grid. According to the charity’s project page, almost three quarters of electrical power for the island of Puerto Rico is generated from imported petroleum.
Natural disasters such as Hurricane Maria in 2017 and more recently the earthquakes in 2020 weakened the grid infrastructure and have contributed to the almost daily power outages and regular surges in prices. The foundation pointed out that the mountain community of Adjuntas is especially vulnerable to these factors, with 62% of their people living below the poverty line. Many are either ailing or elderly and live with limited income.
Of the partnership with Wood Mackenzie, Bernadette Jordan, executive director of Let’s Share the Sun Foundation, said:
“We have already seen the positive impact of this initiative. Just a few days ago, we visited a beneficiary who was amazed they didn’t need to run a generator to keep their oxygen machine running during an extended outage. We are happy to provide resilient and independent power to the people who need it most, and we look forward to an ongoing relationship with Wood Mackenzie.”
If you would like to donate to the Let’s Share The Sun Foundation’s project, you can do so here. The donations will support households in rural Puerto Rico who need help with things such as refrigerating medications, charging wheelchairs, and running medical equipment — things we take for granted here in the rest of the US. And honestly, with Puerto Rico being a territory of the US, our government should do better by our fellow citizens.
Featured image courtesy Wood Mackenzie/Verisk
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