November 24, 2020

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The first electric cooperative in Puerto Rico is one year old waiting for the government to allow it to submit the proposal of its consortium

Dos Bocas hydroelectric plant, Photo Cybernews

Utuado – The secretary of the Board of Directors of the Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña, Ineabelle Medina González, regretted on Friday that a year later, the Authority for Public-Private Alliances (AAPP) and the Electric Power Authority (PREPA) had not specified a proposal to restore the Dos Bocas hydroelectric plant.

“A year ago, the Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña celebrated that its Hidroenergía Renace consortium qualified to submit a Proposal to manage the hydroelectric plants of the Caonillas and Dos Bocas lakes. Now in November 2020, the cooperative regretted that the government, due to the inaction of the Authority for Public-Private Partnerships and the Electric Power Authority, has wasted a year without advancing anything for those projects that would provide clean, cost-effective electricity and resilient to the residents of Adjuntas, Jayuya and Utuado. We have a great project in which our people have high hopes, but the government is not working with the necessary coordination or efficiency ”, expressed Medina González in written communication.

He explained that the AAPP is not moving forward with the revitalization project of the hydroelectric plants because it says it is waiting for the Integrated Resource Plan (PIR) to be approved by the Energy Bureau (NEPR).

In turn, the PREPA is awaiting the Action Plan for the hydroelectric plants of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA), although PREPA does not have the capacity or the personnel to complete the Action Plan requested by the PREPA.

“While all this is happening, there are four proponents already identified and qualified by the AAPP, including our cooperative, unable to submit our Proposal due to lack of action by the AAPP and PREPA. If this continues, unfortunately, the Caonillas and Dos Bocas hydroelectric plants will not be in operation in the immediate future. It is time for the government to end this paralysis and take action recognizing the limits of PREPA and the options that proponents can offer to develop a good Action Plan for the NEPR ”, commented CP Smith, executive director of the Cooperative. “The people of Puerto Rico deserve to know when the AAPP will issue the Request for Proposals given that the people are just as vulnerable more than three years after the passage of Hurricane Maria.”

Next February 21, the 180 days granted by the NEPR will be fulfilled for PREPA to present its Action Plan for the rehabilitation of the hydroelectric plants in Puerto Rico, but none of the companies that hope to participate in it have been allowed to submit a Proposal to rehabilitate hydroelectric plants.

Through the cooperative model and with expert partners in renewable energy, the Cooperative achieved community support to insert itself in the energy transformation of Puerto Rico. In this way, they propose to rescue the heritage of the hydroelectric plants that, when rehabilitated, have the capacity to illuminate several towns in the Central Cordillera with cost-effective energy from renewable sources.

“The communities of Adjuntas, Jayuya and Utuado seek to be resilient and not repeat the nightmare they lived for long months of being without electricity after the passage of Hurricane María,” added Medina González.

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