Bernerd Da Santos, Executive Vice President and Director of Operations and Infrastructure, The AES Corp.
Energy transformation must be the basis for Puerto Rico’s sustainable development. That is why the island needs a reliable and resilient system to guarantee electric services for all Puerto Ricans.
For the last 20 years, from our energy complex in Guayama, through our solar power plant AES Ilumina and our thermal plant, we have been a critical element in bringing energy to the people of Puerto Rico. As part of our commitment to the island, we always act with the highest ethical and safety standards, keeping the community’s interests in mind. For this reason, we have implemented multiple social programs in education, promotion of entrepreneurship, and the development of the local economy, all of which have had a positive impact on Guayama.
At AES, we envision a future driven by a more sustainable, highly electrified, interconnected, and digitized energy system. Our proposed solutions are backed by a focus on both technological and commercial innovation. AES was one of the original pioneers of energy storage through the Fluence company. We continue to lead the market in incorporating new technologies and applications that benefit our customers and the entire electrical grid. We have made a strategic investment in 5B / Maverick technology, an accordion-shaped solar energy solution that allows adding solar resources three times faster and provides up to two times more energy within the same footprint of traditional solar installations. This technology is a resilient and proven measure against hurricanes, up to Category 4.
Now our local team looks to the future towards accelerating the island’s energy transition to reduce its carbon footprint and be prepared to do so long before 2027 through investments in renewable energy. These investments take into account the current plans outlined by the electric sector authorities, such as Puerto Rico’s Integrated Resource Plan, which lays out a roadmap with specific dates and goals adapted to the realities of the island. AES has experience in successful energy transitions in other countries equivalent to 20 times our operation in Puerto Rico. In 2020, we achieved our global goal of reducing coal-based generation to less than 30% of our energy portfolio, and due to this achievement, we have set a new goal to reach 10% in 2025 (5 years earlier than planned), as well as net-zero electricity emissions globally by 2040. We have also decommissioned more than 10,500 MW of energy generated from oil and coal derivatives since 2016, placing us as the second company in the US to have achieved this in absolute terms and the first in terms relative to our total capacity.
As one of the most important renewable energy developers globally, we want to contribute this knowledge, acquired from over 40 years of global experience developing, operating, and innovating safe and reliable energy solutions, to the transition that Puerto Rico is beginning. This could positively impact the cost of electricity in Puerto Rico and contribute directly to the island’s sustainability and climate change goals.
Our experience has taught us the importance of making transitions in an orderly and responsible manner and having the necessary investments, not only in renewable energy but also in other vital links in the electricity supply chain. We are sure that Puerto Rico is ready to accelerate this transition, and we are confident that we can be a part of this process.