Launch Event: Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transition to 100% Renewable Energy Study (Text Version)

This is the text version of the video Launch Event: Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transition to 100% Renewable Energy Study (PR100).

Robin Burton: Welcome, everyone. We've opened the event, and I'll just give it a moment for people to join. I'm going to go ahead and get started. Welcome, everybody. Thank you for joining us for the public launch of PR100: a study of Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transitions to 100% Renewable Energy. I'm Robin Burton, a research analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or NREL. I'm co-leading the study, and I'll be the emcee for today's event. We have a full agenda starting with the opening remarks from a few special guests. So, without further ado, it's my honor to introduce the laboratory director of NREL, Martin Keller.

Martin Keller: Thank you, Robin, and hello, everyone. It is wonderful to see such a large group here today to learn about the PR100. We're thrilled to be part of this effort to bring reliable, affordable, equitable, and 100% renewable energy to Puerto Rico by 2050. To get to any destination, you must first have a clear path. The PR100 study will provide Puerto Rico with technically sound and community driven ways to reach its goals. The study will leverage the expertise of NREL and five of our fellow U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories: Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Sandia. Our comprehensive analysis will provide detailed scenarios that Puerto Rico will be able to use to chart a course towards its clean energy future. We commend our partners in Puerto Rico for the vision and leadership and are confident that our PR100 will serve as a model for other communities. So now it's my great honor to welcome Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. Her passion, hard work, and leadership at DOE has truly bolstered all of us to make the vision of a clean energy future for all a reality. Madam Secretary.

Jennifer Granholm: Thank you so much, Martin. Right back at you. It is a treat to share the stage with you. It's a treat to call you a colleague. Hello, everybody. Of course, I'm thrilled to be with you all of you today. I think it was two weeks ago right now, that DOE officially launched PR100 with Governor Pierluisi and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. And it is the latest effort in our administration's partnership with Puerto Rico to really seize the enormous opportunity of clean energy. And it's not just about making the air cleaner, which it will, and tackling climate change, which it does, but it's also about really creating jobs. Creating jobs installing renewables across the island. It's also about lowering energy costs for Puerto Ricans. Plus, obviously, clean energy is the best path for Puerto Rico to, as we say, build back better, making the island more energy independent and more certainly resilient to extreme weather.

The vast majority of you know, in 2017, the hurricanes (hurricanes Irma and Maria) left some Puerto Ricans without electricity for nearly a year. And many people were stranded without gasoline, and people lost their lives. And it really just cracked open, laid bare, if you will, the vulnerability that comes with relying on fossil fuels. So as climate change brings these stronger, more frequent hurricanes, the right renewables and storage are going to help the power stay on. And when I say the right, I'm really talking about how it's installed and making sure that it's done in a resilient way. So, by installing sources like solar and wind, Puerto Rico can really build its own energy instead of relying on expensive imports. Seizing this opportunity of clean energy is just a no brainer for Puerto Rico. And that recent bipartisan infrastructure law makes $500 million available for clean energy grants, including to territories.

This new PR100 study is really the next step of the Biden administration's commitment to Puerto Rico. It really coincides with the year 2022 being the year of implementation. This study is going to follow the same model. And I know Martin will say a word about this, that we used to chart a clean energy roadmap for Hawaii and Los Angeles, an LA100 study that was done last year, which does tap that expertise from the six labs that Martin mentioned to develop really an action plan, a roadmap that takes into account geography, technology, what is the best strategy for being able to get to that 100% renewable energy goal that Puerto Rico has.

It's going to respect Puerto Rico's current policy, including the ban on nuclear and regulatory limits on natural gas. And the study is going to be really important, collaborative to its core. It's going to engage local communities and stakeholders and experts every step of the way. We want to hear from you, we want to share opportunities with you. So please sign up for our email list through the link that Martin is going to share. This administration is with Puerto Rico all the way on its path to a renewable energy future. We cannot wait to work with all of you to get it done. I'm so grateful to be able to dip in. And thank you so much. I will pass it back to Martin.

Martin: Thank you, and I think I give it straight back to Robin to continue the program. Thank you, Madam Secretary. I really appreciate your comments.

Robin: Yes, thank you both very much for joining us today and for that warm welcome. This project is being conducted also in partnership with FEMA. And next up, we'll hear from FEMA Administrator, Deanne Criswell.

Deanne Criswell: Hello, I am Deanne Criswell. I'm the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. I'd like to thank Secretary Granholm for the opportunity to join this event, and to reaffirm FEMA's commitment to the citizens and government of Puerto Rico in meeting your recovery, resilience, and energy transformation goals. In September 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria caused major devastation in Puerto Rico, destroying a fragile electric grid and other critical infrastructure. To assist with the islands unprecedented recovery efforts, FEMA's public assistance program has obligated $9.5 billion in funding for the energy sector alone. And just recently, on February 2, history was made when the secretaries of Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and the Governor of Puerto Rico signed a memorandum of understanding, promising to partner in the pursuit of a resilient, sustainable, and equitable energy grid for the citizens of Puerto Rico.

As promised by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, FEMA will continue working with the government of Puerto Rico and our energy agency partners to maximize the flexibility of our funding, including the ability to pursue renewable energy resources, address long- term risks, and promote resilience. Under the Biden administration, one of FEMA's primary strategic goals is to lead the whole community in climate resilience. This means our ongoing work in Puerto Rico, and in support of the PR100 study, will be focused on future proofing the island to mitigate potential impacts caused by climate change. We have a long way to go, but together we can help Puerto Rico build back stronger and more resilient. Thank you.

Robin: Thank you again to these leaders for setting the stage for this event and for the launch of the PR100 study. Today's agenda includes providing background and context for the PR100 study, recorded messages from community members, an overview of the study from the project team, and time for questions and answers at the end. We have almost 500 attendees with us today, so we've muted video and audio for participants. But we do want to hear from you throughout the event. So please enter your questions in the Q&A feature and any technical issues in the chat. I see that there's already a lot of activity there and we appreciate it. You can use the language toggle at the bottom of the screen to listen to today's webinar in Spanish and American Sign Language. Interpretation is also provided.

There will be three polls throughout today's presentation starting with this one. So first, we want to know more about who's in this virtual room with us today. The link to answer the poll is in the chat. And the question is, what type of organization do you represent? Again, please click the link in the chat to respond. Possible answers are academic or educational institution, community based or environmental organization, consultant, federal government or national lab, industrial or manufacturing, Puerto Rico or municipal government, solar and storage developer, or individual or unaffiliated within or outside of Puerto Rico. So please again, click that link. And let's see some responses coming in.

Once again, please find the link to the poll in the chat. Great to see a lot of nice responses. A lot of representatives of the federal government and labs are on, we've got consultants, education with us. I like seeing a nice distribution across sectors of participants. We really appreciate all of you for joining us today and participating with us in this process. Again, please keep your questions and chats coming in, and we look forward to continuing to engage. Next on the agenda, I'd like to introduce Marisol Bonnet with the Department of Energy. Marisol is the team lead for Puerto Rico energy recovery at the Office of Electricity. And we'll talk about the context and background of the study. Over to you, Mari.

Marisol Bonnet: Thank you, Robin. And hello everyone. Once again, my name is Marisol Bonnet, and I'm the coordinator for a team within the Department of Energy's Office of Electricity that is completely focused on helping Puerto Rico in the recovery and transformation of their energy sector. As a proud Puerto Rican, this role has really been the greatest honor of my career. And I could not be more excited to finally share this incredible initiative with you that is PR100, which our goal here is to help put Puerto Rico on a path to a more resilient, renewable energy future. Before we dive into more details of the study, which is the focus of this webinar, of course, I did want to take some time to set the context for why DOE and FEMA are doing this, and also explain a little bit more of the motivation that led to the scoping of this effort.

DOE has been providing resources, technical assistance, and subject matter expertise to the government of Puerto Rico for the past several years on a broad range of topics, helping assess the damages of the hurricanes, developing tools to better understand things like interdependencies between the power sector and other sectors like water, communications, health care. We've been working on things like evaluating and demonstrating the resilience benefits of microgrids and other areas. And then in February of 2020, DOE entered into an interagency agreement with FEMA for us to help in directly informing decision making around the use of a historical amount of federal recovery funding that is specifically earmarked for the energy sector. That's over $12 billion that are going to be implemented over the next decade and presents a huge opportunity to transform Puerto Rico's energy system.

Through this agreement, FEMA provides funding to DOE and six of its national labs to provide the technical analyses and capabilities, the subject matter expertise, to help in the planning around the use of these funds and enhance the local capacity by doing things like reviewing feasibility studies, request for proposals, doing complex analyses to support the resilient and recovery of Puerto Rico power system. What exactly are these $12 billion for the energy sector that DOE has been asked to support? Not going to go into too much detail, but on the screen, you're going to see a high-level breakdown of the funds that are coming from the FEMA side and then from the Housing and Urban Development Department or HUD.

On the FEMA side, there's over $10 billion across the hazard mitigation and public assistance programs. And on the HUD side, there is grant funding that comprises over $12 billion in energy related programs that are, of course, administered by the local Department of Housing. For DOE to help inform and support the implementation of these funds, we realize that the first step is to ensure that they are not considered in a vacuum, but rather that they are invested in the context of federal policies, and of course, the public Energy policy of Puerto Rico. In terms of federal policy, this means things like compliance with NEPA, the National Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, but it also means alignment with the executive orders of the precedent such as the ones that are shown on the screen that directs the federal agencies to pursue initiatives to advance the Clean Energy Transition to decarbonize the grid and combat climate change.

In terms of the local policy, the Energy Public Policy Act of 2019 establishes the vision for Puerto Rico's energy system and sets the statutory goals for energy production from renewable resources all the way to 100% by the year 2050. But it also requires the utility PREPA and its private operator of the T&D system, LUMA, to comply with additional requirements like reducing energy use through energy efficiency measures, eliminating generation from coal resources, and complying with an integrated resource plan, or IRP. When we go to the latest IRP, which was approved by the regulator in the year 2020, we see that there's additional requirements to ensure decarbonization and diversification of generation sources for the system. So that utility has to retire a significant number of their oil and diesel fired generation within the next 10 years, while also limiting the development of new natural gas generation to 81 megawatts. And in parallel, the utility needs to procure 1000s of megawatts of renewable generation and energy storage through a competitive procurement process, one which we are just really at the beginning stuff.

And that's not all, through its authority as the independent regulator of the public utility PREB, or the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, has issued numerous regulations that the utility now has to implement and comply with. Things like demand response programs, energy efficiency, electric vehicle strategy, the wheeling regulation, all of which will contribute to Puerto Rico's transition to a more modern energy system. What does this all mean? Why am I talking about this? It means that the planning for the energy system and determining near and long-term investments, especially with so many changes ahead, it has to be a comprehensive process that requires a broad set of capabilities, expertise and public participation, to be able to answer questions, like the ones on the screen.

What are even the possible pathways to get to the 100% renewable energy target by 2050, and all the interim targets that are in Acts 17? What is reaching 100% renewable energy mean in terms of investments or changes that have to be made locally? Does it mean having to build new transmission lines or focusing more on the distribution system? What happens to the demand if we adopt technologies like electric vehicles or more energy efficient technologies and measures? How can Puerto Rico make sure that this new system is resilient under extreme weather events? And what are the impacts of these different pathways on jobs and the local economy? And of course, what will it cost to get to these goals? Providing the independent analysis and answers to these questions is what PR100 will aim to achieve, and we want you all to be part of this process. So next, we're going to hear from a few members of Puerto Rico's community of energy leaders on what are some of their hopes and expectations for this initiative on Puerto Rico's energy future.

Lillian: I think that this story, the PR100, is going to have a positive impact in the development of our energy sector and our resiliency goals. And the impacts would be in more than one area. For example, I expect that it will further help with the engagement of the consumers and the education of consumers in energy issues, as well as with the gathering of data information that is tailored to Puerto Rico's needs, and many other positive impacts.

Carlos: Those of us who travel around Puerto Rico know PR100 very well. I live in one of the most beautiful coasts of Puerto Rico, El Combate, Cabo Rojo, but this new pathway we are tracing together, PR100, will give us the conceptualization, or the creation, of a new energy paradigm for Puerto Rico. A paradigm that is just, that is democratic, that is resilient. That does justice for present generations, without forgetting the necessities of generations to come.

Marla: My hopes and dreams for Puerto Rico's electrical system, first of all, is social change. To finally understand as a society that energy is not a technological issue with a social component to it, but a social issue with a technological component of it.

Josue: Hello, everyone. My name is Josue Colon, and I am the CEO for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, commonly known as PREPA. As we all know, in 2017, Puerto Rico suffered the most catastrophic event in recent history. We did direct impact from hurricanes Irma and Maria. As a result, much of the infrastructure of the Puerto Rico energy system was damaged or destroyed, affecting the millions of American citizens who reside here. Many of the affected communities were without power for months, some up to a year. What happened showed the need to not only repair or rebuild the system, it also showed the need to reevaluate our entire energy model from the bottom-up. They PR100 study will provide the recommendation and roadmap to achieve a more resilient and reliable energy system, but at the same time align with the renewable energy goals of the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy.

Maretzie: My hope for a more resilient Puerto Rico is one of safe and healthy communities for residents, sustainable local environment and culture, and a vibrant economy for our future. Reliable and affordable energy is at the center of all this. I look forward to continuing to work together with the Department of Energy and other federal partners to make this happen.

Shirley: My greatest hope for this study is that it will help us find funding in a steady way. Our communities have an urgent need for affordable, reliable, and clean energy. Since each funding source has a different purpose, timeline, and scope, it is critical that we order electrical system improvement in a way that is logical, effective, and efficient. And I look forward for the outcomes identifying the story to lead us in that direction.

Ingrid: In the end, I hope this study will provide clear guiding principles for FEMA, HUD, and the government of Puerto Rico on federal fund use for distributed renewable deployment. Is therefore essential that FEMA and HUD respect this process and consult the groups participating in this effort to ensure only no regret investments were made during the period this study will be conducted. I look forward to a transparent and collaborative process that seeks to improve the quality of life for the people of Puerto Rico.

Marcel: We also know that the transition to 100% renewable energy in Puerto Rico could represent lower costs, more resilient electricity and to save 1000s of lives it you include massive deployment of solar rooftop with battery systems in at least 500,000 homes in the short-term as the first no regrets action. We need a PR100 that works for clean energy issue. Clean from carbon emissions, but even more important is to have energy clean from corruption, clean from colonial oppression, we need a transparent clean energy governance.

Migdalia: We at LUMA are committed to building a cleaner electric system that advances renewable energy in Puerto Rico. We are excited for the PR100 study as it will show how Puerto Rico can reach 100% renewable energy by 2050. A cleaner energy system is what our clients expect, and we are already aligning ourselves with that goal. In only seven months we connected 1,500 clients with to solar energy systems. We've studied grid integration of up to 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy at the commercial level. We coordinated with wind and solar installations to safely connect them to the grid. We are modernizing the grid to support the transition to electric vehicles. At LUMA, we are very satisfied with the PR100 study, and we hope to continue working with the Department of Energy and other interested partners to take steps towards a cleaner energy system for Puerto Rico.

Marisol: Alright, that was awesome. That was my first time watching the compiled version and it's really exciting to have these key leaders being partners with us in this effort. So now we want to hear from you. We're going to open a poll and we want to know what your highest priority for Puerto Rico's energy transition to 100% renewable energy is. We're going to drop another link here in the chat, and you should be able to go to the link and vote and see the live responses here on the main webinar. We'll wait a couple of minutes. If none of these options resonate with you, feel free to type your priorities in the chat, and we can read some of those as well. A lot of interest in the widespread adoption of distributed energy resources, increased resilience, energy justice and energy democracy. In the chat I see the rapid deployment of microgrids as a priority. Resilience and distributed energy resources being neck-to-neck here. 100% dependable energy no more losing power in the chat. All right, that's great. Thank you all for voting and sharing your perspectives with us. So now, we're going to hear from the lab team on how all of these factors and priorities will be considered as part of the PR100 effort as they walk us through an overview of the study. And so, for that, I'm going to turn it over to Murali Baggu from the National Renewable Energy Lab, who along with Robin, are leading or the lead researchers for PR100. So Murali, over to you.

Murali: Thank you very much, Mari. Thank you, Robin, for emceeing the event here. As Mari was mentioning, my name is Murali Baggu, I am the co-PI of this PR100 effort along with Robin Burton. I'll be leading a panel to go into the technical details of the work here. I'll be leading the panel along with Robin Burton from National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Nate Blair from National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Matt Lave from Sandia National Laboratories. They will introduce themselves when they get to speak here in a minute. With that, let's go to the next slide, please.

Since Hurricane Irma and Maria in September 2017, a team of six national labs has partnered with the US Department of Energy to provide Puerto Rico energy justice system stakeholders with tools, training, and models to support and enable planning and operation of the electrical power grid to be more resilient against future disruptions. The PR100 that we are launching today, it's a two-year study entitled PR100: Puerto Rico Energy Great Resilience and Transition to 100% Renewable Energy. The multi-lab team that you're seeing on the screen here will perform a comprehensive analysis of stakeholder driven pathways to Puerto Rico's clean energy future. The robust and object to energy analysis entitles multiple tasks, as you can see in the blue boxes there, with an emphasis on power system reliability, resilience, and generation planning.

These are the high-level areas that we're looking at with a lot of deep analysis all the way from stakeholder engagement, energy justice, climate risk assessment, energy potential, and demand projections and other areas that we'll talk about in this panel here. Next slide, please. To me, the key objective of the action team and understanding stakeholder driven pathways for 100% renewable for Puerto Rico, we are actually focusing on four main activities, which are targeted towards community engagement, scenario generation modeling that includes demand projection and distributed and central generation options and objective evaluation there. And also understanding impact analysis both on the technical side, which includes the system stability and reliability aspects, as well as on the economic side, which looks at economic impacts to the broader Puerto Rico public. The key considerations that we are looking at are certainly energy justice, energy democracy, as we have seen in the poll as one of the important things there which looks at equitable access to planning process and benefit. Looking at creed drivers like affordability, reliability, and resilience of the system. Also, climate risk assessments, because this is a study that will span all the way for planning up to 2050 so we also want to see what climate impacts will look like. Along with that also having one more eye on economic impacts on jobs.

Next slide, please. The timeline of the study is two years. We recently kicked off, so we are actually looking at finishing the study by end of next calendar year. We also have three main milestones that we want to really get feedback and present across the way. At the six-month mark, we are looking at a highly involved stakeholder group, where we will be coming up with four initial scenarios to achieve Puerto Rico goals. At year one mark, we'll actually be in a position to run some high-resolution data sets and look at the data sets and inform this for initial scenarios, narrow them down to three feasible scenarios with high level of renewables pathways.

At the end of the project, we'll be producing a comprehensive report, with all the analysis really driving different options for Puerto Rico. And we'll be doing outreach and public engagement on that. Next slide, please. With that, I'll actually turn into my panelist. I'll start with Robin, if you can come online. Actually, I see you online there. Thank you. I would really ask a question more on the community engagement energy justice side, I think that's a very key important aspect of what we're doing with PR100. So how are we planning to engage the community in the study? And how will we incorporate principles of energy justice democracy throughout the study?

Robin: Thanks very much, Murali. Hello again, everyone. Community or stakeholder engagement is absolutely at the core of this study. We're evaluating possible pathways to 100% renewable energy for Puerto Rico. And it's essential that the pathways we model are based on extensive community input about local priorities and experiences. We have formed a steering committee of federal funders and local public implementers to help chart the course for the effort, as well as an advisory group that meets for the first time later today. The advisory group members represent a variety of sectors with an interest in Puerto Rico's energy future. And we will work extensively with members to make sure the process and results reflect the needs and goals of the community. The advisory group is comprised of representatives of academia, the business community and professional associations, community based and environmental organizations, generation owners, solar and storage developers, municipalities, and other representatives. So again, really essential to connect with these groups and make sure that we're actively engaging to collect their input and incorporate it into the study of both the process and the results.

There will also be additional opportunities for public engagement and input throughout the study starting with today. We're so delighted to have, at this point, over 550 participants on this call. And at points throughout the study there'll be opportunities where we'll present on the work in progress both of the six-month mark, at the one-year mark, and at the two year mark. And we encourage anyone who's interested to track progress to sign up for updates. I think we've got that link in the chat. There's an email list that you can sign up for and find out about opportunities for public engagement all along the way. Next slide, please. Oh, I'm sorry. Previous slide please. To answer the question about how we will incorporate principles of energy justice throughout the study. We aim to provide fair access to the planning process by engaging a broad cross section of stakeholders in the advisory group, including environmental justice communities, to understand their priorities and past harms related to the energy system. We're committed to listening to and respecting the perspectives of all advisory group participants and the broader public. And we'll consider as part of our impact analysis topics like land use planning and project siting so that the benefits and burdens related to the energy transition may be equitably distributed.

Murali: Thank you, Robin. It looks like there are some good opportunities to engage community here on a very regular basis. That's really exciting. Let me go to the next question. And this is to Nate Blair. I think we are talking about a lot of scenarios here. And really looking at narrowing down scenarios. But for the people out there, I really want to ask you the question, what is the scenario? And what does scenario modeling really involve? What are we really going to do to get to that pathway that we're talking about? I'll also add one more question, which I think should tie up with the earlier one is, what are our plans to incorporate multiple inputs in renewables, fossil generation and other things. And also new things like distributed generation, EVs, and efficiencies to achieve 100% renewable energy goals here? With that, Nate, please go ahead. Introduce yourself and walk us through this.

Nate Blair: Sure, thank you very much. I'm Nate Blair. I'm a senior researcher at NREL and with 20 years of experience doing various kinds of scenario modeling and have been active in a variety of our larger studies. And I'm really excited to be part of this study as it starts to unfold. I think it's going to be really fun from a modeling standpoint, as well as impactful for the stakeholders. At its simplest form a scenario is a possible pathway towards an energy future driven by a set of inputs. And we use a variety of different modeling tools to try to evaluate based on those inputs what the future will hold within that scenario. And typically, in these studies, we run a range of scenarios. And we hope that the range of outputs gives information to decision makers that will really help guide their decisions and investments as we move forward.

To the second question about inputs, we kind of have grouped them to think about into two different categories. One is energy demand, how much demand will there be? How will that grow or shrink? And it can shrink due to energy efficiency, it can grow due to electric vehicle adoption. What's the value of backup power? We just did another study that looked at that for the mainland, and I think that the value of backup power is very high in Puerto Rico. And so that'll be one of the focus areas on the demand side. And then on the energy supply side, we are open to a range of technologies. We anticipate that as we move towards 100% renewable energy, a couple of technologies will likely dominate. So distributed solar and storage, large scale solar, large-scale wind, and so forth. On the energy supply side and throughout the modeling, we have a series of guardrails, or we call them constraints on the modeling. Things like Act 17 and other public policy programs will be incorporated. Resiliency requirements for the grid to make sure it's resilient. People ask about transmission; the modeling can build out transmission as needed to support 100% and those costs will be incorporated in the modeling.

Next slide, please. And if I could build on this a little bit more, I'd like to bring in some of the existing work that we've already done for Puerto Rico. This slide looks at an analysis and the link is in the lower left there that's already been released, looking at the possibilities around utility-scale solar PV. And you can see that even if you just look at the PV developable area, which are the yellow areas, mostly along the coasts, there's already over 20 gigawatts of total utility-scale PV capacity that's available, which is really significant compared to the existing installed capacity on the island. Next slide. Similarly, we've started to look at rooftop solar potential.

This map shows the generation potential in gigawatt hours per year for each of the counties in Puerto Rico. And as you can see, the hot red areas often align with cities, so lots of rooftops. And we have more than 20 gigawatts of capacity potential for distributed PV resources as well, which also exceeds the current generation level in Puerto Rico, which I think really speaks to the fact that we're starting to realize that we have the capacity to move towards 100% renewable energy already, which is great information. And we will continue to refine these estimates and others as we move forward. Next slide, please.

To continue to answer that question on the input side, we are looking at a variety of technologies. We know that there has been in the past land-based wind, and we're looking at land-based and offshore wind. Offshore wind costs are starting to come down dramatically. And we're looking at what that might look like in an area with a significant hurricane risk. That's an exciting sort of side project that's already going on. Hydropower, there is an existing capacity of hydropower, and we're going to look at what makes sense in terms of augmenting that. And then there's a variety of other potential options as we head towards 2050 that we're going to incorporate. Some of them are quite uncertain at this point, but we're working to see how they may play into the future as well.

Next slide, please. On the demand side, we're looking at some really interesting components of the demand. So previously in the 2019, Integrated Resource Plan, there was quite a bit of work done on electric usage on the island and forecasting that into the future. That's what we're starting with, and we're building on that and refining it a little bit. And then we're looking at energy efficiency improvements. And that will likely reduce the net load for the island. And then we're looking at potential for electric vehicle adoption, probably a couple of scenarios around levels there that would increase the net demand for the island. And then on top of that, the result of that, we will then see how much distributed solar, and storage make sense to add on to that load, which will reduce the net electric usage. And the remaining electric usage or electric demand will then be met by large scale solar, wind and other sources that we just talked about. Next slide, please. Thank you very much. Murali, you're on mute.

Murali: Thank you, Nate. That's really great information and good insights on how we're doing modeling. With that, let me switch to Matt Lave here. I am actually looking through some of the Q&A and there are a lot of questions on how we are assessing impacts, especially like storm surge and other impacts, and also hurricanes. Let me ask Matt here, how will we evaluate climate resilience and also economic impacts as part of the study? Matt, please introduce yourself.

Matt Lave: Thank you, Murali. So hi, everyone, I Matt Lave from Sandia National Laboratories. At Sandia, I'm a researcher in the renewable and distributed systems integration group. So there, I coordinate a team of researchers working on PR100, as well as several other related activities both in Puerto Rico and other islands in remote territory. Excited to be working on this project. As part of the impact analysis in PR100, you can see on this slide that we're integrating a network of tools and analyses to help understand the complex impacts of weather to electric grid operations. Climate models such as the one shown on the left here, modeling long-term changes in rainfall, will help us understand anticipated weather impacts.

These threats will be integrated with models of electric grid assets, as shown in the middle figure, to help us understand the likely failures that will result from these weather and climate changes. Then as we move into the figures on the right, we're starting to look at after understanding of those threats, how can we improve the system resilience both at the transmission and the distribution level, basically using renewable energy to improve the system resilience to these anticipated climate threats? This research is enabled by teaming among several national labs, there are four tools shown on the slide that come from different national labs. And so that's really helping us in PR100 to come up with this integrated analysis to solve these complex problems.

We can go on to the next slide, and we'll talk about the economic impacts. This study is going to look at both micro and macro-economic impacts of transitioning to 100% renewable energy. Investment in say, as shown on this slide, new wind energy projects, but also, of course, any renewable energy projects will affect the rates charged by the island's electric utilities as less expensive renewable energy replaces more costly fossil fuel generation or other conventional generation. This in turn will affect customers' bills and will affect the resulting levels of income. However, the construction of new wind energy projects will also create jobs, which in turn will affect personal income as well. That's what's shown in the figure on the right in this sort of expanding bubble.

With increased spending power, citizens can contribute more to local tax and sales revenues and help the broader economy. This is an example of the wind energy economic ripple effects, which is illustrated on this slide. In summary, we're not just considering the technical aspects of achieving 100% renewable energy, but we're also looking at the economic impact, both in terms of the immediate impact, but also this sort of ripple effect as on this side. We're really trying to make this analysis comprehensive to address this complex problem. With that, I think I will hand it back to Murali. I think you're on mute again, Murali.

Murali: Sorry. Yeah, thank you very much, Matt. That's really helpful insights on the impact side. One thing I will conclude this panel with, this activity certainly will encompass as integrated data management and visualizations, reports and outreach and implementation roadmap, especially for the government of Puerto Rico to implement the study recommendations. I will strongly encourage the team here to really go through the DOE website that was posted in the beginning of the session here for more information, and also NRELs and other labs activities and past activities to support energy planning in Puerto Rico. There are a lot of publications, tools, and other resources available on that website. With that, thanks very much for all the panelists for your time and the information you provided. I will turn it back to Robin.

Robin: Thank you, Murali. Next up, we've got another poll. It was really exciting to see during that presentation so many great questions coming in. What a wonderful, engaged group, and we really will be looking for that kind of input all throughout the study. For this next poll question, we'd like to hear from you about your vision for Puerto Rico's energy future in just a few words. Your responses will show up on the screen. In just a few words, again, what is your vision for Puerto Rico's energy future? The link to complete this poll is in the chat. So please go ahead and click that link and enter your responses. We've got a few responses coming in already. 100%, renewable energy, wind, solar and waves. I like comments about the range of renewable energy options for Puerto Rico. Mini-grids, cheaper, dependable energy, excellent. Robust and reliable energy service. Robust, coming through a couple of times. All right. Resilience, sustainability. An economic hub and affordable system. Energy independence.

All right, we really appreciate all of these comments and all of your thoughts on the vision for the future. These are great. I think we've made up some time here on the agenda. So please keep your responses coming in and share them with the group. Example of how to quickly and equitably transition to a clean energy future, absolutely. Distributed rooftop solar, absolutely. Equitable access, indeed. Reliability, consistent availability, energy independence has come through a couple of times. We debated about doing responses this way or as a word cloud, and I think resilience and reliability, some of these words are really showing up over and over again, so I can envision that. Mostly renewable, affordable, designed to provide sustainable economic growth. Job creation, resilience, modern controllability. Absolutely. Thank you for all of these wonderful comments about your vision for the future.

Independent, that's showing up big in the word cloud of my mind also. Absolutely. An independent system, reduce emissions. Yep. Micro-grids, rooftop solar storage, resilience against hurricanes. Okay, well, this is really wonderful. I appreciate hearing your virtual voices about your vision for the energy future. And with that, we've got another group of videos. We really appreciate the community members who agreed to share their thoughts on Puerto Rico's energy future. And so, let's hear from another group of community leaders.

Ferdinand: Although the current IRP gives us a clear roadmap towards advancing our electrical grid to one dominated by renewable energy, it has a planning horizon of only 20 years. By 2040, 60% of the energy serving Puerto Rico shall come from renewable sources. The PR100 is an unprecedented study in Puerto Rico that will complement subsequent iterations of the integrated resources plans on issues that will arise with the integration of massive amounts of intermittent renewable energy into a complex island grid like the one we have here in Puerto Rico.

Loraima: This type of study is extremely important as it entails all the disciplines that energy affects. We are talking about health, the economy, economic development, community development, and justice. We have the opportunity to develop an instrument that not only transforms the entire electric system of Puerto Rico at once, but also develop an instrument that can be used in other jurisdictions of the United States or around the Caribbean, or Latin America.

Cecilio: The plan can help us organize knowledge in ways that are more democratic and that actually reflect the complexity and the wickedness of our energy problems in Puerto Rico, which will take all of us as participants of this process as extended members of a peer community to deal with the uncertainty that our climate change world brings to our grid.

Francisco: As Director of the Energy Public Policy Program for Puerto Rico, the PR100 is really important for us to finally get a roadmap towards the implementation of the public policy that we have at the federal and state level. Puerto Rico honestly has needed to integrate their renewable energy, and we finally have the opportunity with the federal funds that we have available, and having all the agencies working towards the same direction is essential. And this study will definitely be really good for Puerto Rico.

Ruth: Civil society favorites distributed renewable energy sited directly at homes and other existing structures, coupled with battery energy storage to minimize transmission distribution, system losses, costs, and vulnerabilities. Distributed renewable energy advances bring jobs and just transition while simultaneously commanding energy sacrifice without further impacting scarce agricultural land and ecological areas. The use of the historic amount of federal funds allocated for the electric system to center human resilience, distinct from grid reconstruction, the PR100 study should address the vicious cycle, the need for disastrous systems in terms of climate crisis, help save lives and future reliability of Puerto Rico. Thank you.

P.J. Wilson: Javier, what do you think about this PR100 study?

Javier: I think it's awesome. I think it represents a commitment that we've seen since before the election by the Biden administration and the agencies to help Puerto Rico fulfill itself legislative goal to 100% renewables.

P.J. Wilson: 100% renewable. We at SESA focus on the solar and storage aspects of that. But we've never before seen this sort of collaboration from the federal government to help Puerto Rico accomplish its own energy independence, this is amazing.

Javier: It is. And I think all we have to do is stick to our guns to comply with Puerto Rico law, enforce it. And the help of the federal government, it's critical for that. And it's not only funding, it's also the technical support. And the PR100 study will end up putting, I guess, enhancing the findings from the current IRB, and probably informing the next one in very positive ways.

P.J. Wilson: Yeah, I think it's going to be a big step towards every Puerto Rican having solar and storage and completely resilient power during the next hurricane.

Robin: Wonderful. I really want to thank again all of the community leaders who shared messages to include in today's presentation. We really appreciate including all of those voices as part of this presentation. And now, questions have been coming in, and we have set aside time to respond to them. I'm going to turn the Q&A session over to Jill Rhodes to moderate this discussion. Jill.

Jill Rhodes: Hi, thank you, Robin. I am a project manager and the project manager for the PR100 study. We have some questions that came in from the registration forms. There were a lot of common themes between the registration forms and what you all type in the chat, so that's great. I'm going to start with some of those questions that were sent earlier on those common themes. My first question goes to Nate, sorry, I'm looking here. Nate, what types of generation resources are being considered as part of this study? What types of generation resources are being excluded from this study?

Nate: Thank you, Jill. That's a good question. Let me start by saying, we have sort of initial set of ideas. And through our interaction with all the stakeholders, we anticipate refining that and augmenting that. And as you can imagine, as we go all the way out towards 2050, some of the technology options that are now being incubated might emerge. And we're going to try to speak to that, even though some of that is pretty uncertain at this point. However, what we can say right now, and I think my slides alluded to that also, is that distributed solar central generation solar are going to be really key technologies and key resources for Puerto Rico as we move towards 100% clean energy. In addition, we anticipate wind, hydro, and potentially offshore wind as also being key technologies to look at, but we are open.

I saw someone ask if nuclear was included, we don't anticipate nuclear being cost effective either on the mainland or on Puerto Rico, but we are happy to look at that. And then we are going to be looking at some other technologies as well both on the distributed side and on the large-scale side such as wave power, for example. So we are not excluding technologies but, again, our chief goal in the analysis is to head towards 100% renewable energy. I don't anticipate we will be building out any more gas, coal or fossil generation with that end goal in mind, because those would end up being assets that wouldn't be used for very long.

Jill: Great, thank you for the answer, Nate. Our next question will go to Mari. How is PR100 different from the integrated resource planning, IRP process, to be conducted by LUMA by December 2023?

Marisol: Awesome, yeah, I can answer that. I do want to say just really quick to the previous question, just clarify that the study will not be considering nuclear energy. We're really going to stick to the generation resources that are under the statutory definition for renewable resources, which is like Nate mentioned, solar, wind, we may look at things like biofuels, definitely hydropower, and marine energy. But at this time, nuclear energy, or new generation from say natural gas is beyond what's been approved in the previous IRP are not part of the energy public policy. And we want to respect that, and we'll not be touching it unless the law changes. Just wanted to clarify that really quick, IRP versus PR100.

That's a great question. We've seen it come up a lot of times. An integrated resource plan is typically a process that our utility follows to plan for the acquisition of new generation resources over the next 5, 10, 20 years to make sure that the utility can meet the projected or forecasted demand. This plan that's prepared by utility has regulatory weight and has to be approved or can be approved or even rejected by the regulator. So PR100 is different in that this is an independent study, and has no regulatory way, DOE is not a decision maker. But it's a study that uses DOE's capabilities and expertise to really lay out and reflect a diverse set of perspective for how Puerto Rico can meet its renewable energy goals and illustrate the impacts of each pathway.

That being said, the alignment of PR100 and the next IRP cycle timelines is not coincidental. We expect that PR100 will largely inform the next IRP cycle, doing things like generating new resource data that LUMA and PREPA can use when considering new generation resources, like new comprehensive research potential data for roof mounted or ground mounted solar on an offshore wind, etc. We're going to be doing new analysis to inform demand projections. So what are the impacts on demand of things like energy efficiency and electric vehicle adoption? These analyses can also be used by the utility as they prepare the next IRP. And of course, one of the biggest differences I see as well as the core objective of resilience that PR100 has.

So using the tools that have been developed by the national labs specific to Puerto Rico since the hurricanes to evaluate the resilience impacts of each scenario, I think that's a core difference between PR100 and the IRP. With that, PREPA and LUMA are both part of the advisory group and our steering committee, and they're going to be working hand in hand with us throughout the study so that we can make sure that our results are directly considered and implemented in all of their planning processes, including the IRP. Thank you.

Jill: Thank you, Mari. So the next question will go to Robin, how will energy equity and environmental justice concerns be incorporated into the study?

Robin: Thanks, Jill. I alluded to this in my previous remarks. But just to build on that, our team again, it's really focused on grounding our study and energy justice, with one entire task within the study devoted to this topic. The task will include everything from conducting literatures to summarize the energy justice landscape in Puerto Rico, and also using tools like DOE's lead tool, EPA's EJScreen and others to identify vulnerable or disadvantaged communities and land use considerations. We'll also closely link the energy justice and economic impacts tasks within the study specifically on the jobs impact to see how disadvantaged communities may be impacted. As with the overall study, data will be important to measure the success of our planned energy justice work. We plan to build metrics around outages like duration, frequency and community impacts, and quantify emissions impacts to communities based on different scenarios. Finally, I'll mention that we're developing a climate risk assessment and adaptation strategy to assess the potential impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise and storm surges on the current and potential future locations of energy infrastructure. So incorporated throughout the study in a variety of ways.

Jill: Thank you for that answer, Robin. And our next question goes to Matt, kind of built off of that just a little bit. Matt, how are we in the project including relevant voices and expertise from local stakeholders?

Matt: Yeah, thanks for bringing this up. Because this is something that we feel is really important. We think it's imperative that we include the voices of local stakeholders in this study. And just as Robin mentioned, that we have a separate task for energy justice and/or the equity. We also have a separate task for stakeholder engagement, we're very focused on this. As part of that task, we formed an advisory group. So that currently consists of more than 40 members from a broad spectrum of parties interested in the Puerto Rico energy sector. These groups include, but are not limited to the utilities, the academia, community organizations, local government, and other energy activists. The advisory group is going to help us support the development of the modeling scenarios and some of these energy justice priorities that Robin just talked about. We actually have our kickoff meeting for this advisory group later today, just a couple of hours. So, we're very excited for that.

And the group is going to meet on about a monthly basis. We're going to make sure that as the project progresses, we're getting input in real time. I also really want to highlight that we're partnering with Puerto Rico universities execute parts of the technical work. So as the national labs, we've had contracts with several Puerto Rican universities for the past several years, actually. Certainly, they've been indirectly involved in this work for the past year or so and that's continuing going forward. We really want to take the tools, the analysis that we develop and make sure that we're getting the universities involved in that analysis of conducting the analysis, and then also helping us with the outreach for that analysis. And then, well, just in conclusion, we're just looking forward to holding more events like today's webinars so that we can really make sure that we engage with the public and get the feedback that we're getting today, through the chat, through the polls, and through any other outreach that people are willing to help us provide. So Thanks, Jill.

Jill: Thank you, Matt. I think we all are super excited to be in the public eye now. This is great. Our next question will go to Murali. Who will be responsible for implementation of the scenarios?

Murali: That's a great question, Jill. What I'll say is DOE and the broader national lab team that's working on this will provide data driven recommendations backed by world class capital design expertise. But the caveat certainly is we are not the decision makers for the transmission investments or the distribution investments on the systems. The PR100 study itself will generate several candid scenarios that show different pathways to reaching the 100% renewable energy targets and deliver comprehensive analysis to illustrate their impacts and tradeoffs. The study will also include a short-term roadmap, as I mentioned earlier, on how to set the foundation for the long-term transformation of the grid. Scenario implementation would ultimately be the responsibility of the government of Puerto Rico, the public utility, the regulators, and public support. That being said, the PR100 study has the full support of the governor of Puerto Rico, and we will be working closely with PREPA, LUMA, PREB and other government entities throughout the study.

Jill: Great, thank you, Murali. We have just a few more questions here. This next one is going to go to Mari. What entity or entities have requested this study? I think this is two part, and you've kind of already answered this, but I'll throw it out there, too. And is Puerto Rico utility PREPA on board?

Marisol: All right, great question. I'll answer the latter part first. So yes, the utility both PREPA and the T&D operator, LUMA, are fully on board. And we have their full support for the study. As you saw in the video compilations, we had a video from PREPA's Executive Director, Engineer Colon providing his support and vision for the study. We also saw a video from LUMA. We've worked closely with both in the scoping of the study over the past few months to ensure that the deliverables and the activities align with theirs in terms of timing and scope. So yes, this will be hand in hand working with them, as well as prep the regulator to make sure again that our results and findings can be relevant and directly implemented into decision making. Who has requested the study? In addition to, of course, our sponsors, FEMA, and the utility, we have heard from multiple entities and stakeholders.

I'm not going to name them individually. But there is an obvious need for an independent study that lays out the potential pathways to meeting the goals of Act 17 and getting to 100% by 2050. There are, of course, a lot of different studies and perspectives that are out there for what the system should look like. Whether it's more distributed or centralized, what options lead to more resilience, how do we make it equitable? And the Department of Energy is really in a unique position backed by the world class capabilities of the labs to conduct the analysis in a way that is grounded on community engagement to ensure neutrality. So really, DOE bringing in one of the values being not just the capabilities of the labs, but the ability to be neutral and independent, and represent a broad set of perspectives and their impacts on tradeoffs. Thank you.

Jill: Awesome. Thank you, Mari. We have just a couple more questions. You guys are doing great here. Thank you all for asking so many questions. Let's see, this theme came up quite a bit on micro-grids. Now for this to Matt, how will micro-grids be taken into account as part of this study?

Matt: Yeah, so I mentioned energy resilience on the slide that I talked to a little bit earlier. And micro-grids are one tool that we can use to help enhance energy resilience. So, while this study at a high level is focused on 100% renewables, one of the byproducts of having a lot of renewables, inherently some at least will be distributed renewables, is that those can help us form micro-grids, because some of the distributed generation will be close to the loads especially the critical loads that we would be interested in. So as a byproduct of all this renewable generation, we're looking at what are the benefits that we can achieve by implementing micro-grids out of these renewables? As labs, we have a variety of tools to quantitatively identify the resilience benefits.

As I talked to you on the slide, we do impact modeling, and then we look at the resilience benefits through different scenarios. So that's really what we're focused on here, is how can we take these high levels of renewables and see if they will be beneficial to forming micro-grids. The micro-grids would then enhance the energy resilience for communities across Puerto Rico. We're excited to explore that, we want to look into that benefit, and we think it would be a relatively low to zero cost adder to already incorporating 100% renewable scenario.

Jill: Great, thank you, Matt. Our next question here is going to go to Robin. There's a lot of excitement about this study and when we will be sharing more information. So the question is, what are your plans for sharing data products and reports throughout the study period, and not just at the end?

Robin: Yeah, thanks, Jill. I'll say again, how encouraged I am by the great response we've had to today's event, and we look forward to having many more conversations like this one. So at the six month mark, so July of this year, we'll have some preliminary information about the initial scenarios that we will be modeling as part of a study. And we'll have deliverable associated with that phase of the study at that point, which we'll, again, share in a public forum, perhaps similar to this one. And then also at the one-year mark we'll have some initial or one year deliverables to share more broadly as well, in addition to at the end of the study, having results to share. And really look forward to continuing this dialogue with the broader community for thoughts and input along the way. Again, we've got an email list you can sign up for so that we can sort of proactively communicate with you about when these events will be happening and when information will be available for your review and for input.

Jill: Great, thank you, Robin. There's also been a lot of questions around including the universities and not starting the study from scratch. So Matt, I'll ask you, how are we incorporating the work that's being done by universities in the prior work for transforming Puerto Rico's grid via distributed solar and all the other research that's been done? How are we incorporating that and considering that?

Matt: Yeah, so as I mentioned before, the universities to actually implement the tools that were being developed, they're actually helping form the tools as we go forward. So, we absolutely want to be hand in hand with universities and other organizations that have already conducted research. We want to build upon that. We by no means want to come in and start anew. As much as we can, we're very much aware of what's currently going on, we're utilizing the university partners to help us make sure we're aware of what's currently going on, what the current situation is. And like I said, we really enjoy having them actively involved in our work. So, university partners, but also other local partners, we're very much focused on engaging. Again, as I talked about, we have the advisory group coming up later today. And we try to maintain these levels of communication so that we can really understand from the local community what the needs are.

Jill: Great. Thank you, Matt. And I think we have time for just one more question. And I'm going to toss it over to you, Nate. There's been a lot of the word cloud earlier. We saw a lot of talk about resilience, and there's a lot of questions around that. So, this is a little bit of a long one, but I will read it out. This technology for both generation and then transmission and distribution aspects of the grid exists that can withstand Category Five hurricanes, sometimes more than in one season, magnitude eight earthquakes, flooding, as many transmission towers are in floodplains and landslides, as all of these represent historical risks of Puerto Rico. How does the research and development figure into these plans?

Nate: It's a really good question, Jill. Thank you. Quite a hard question as well. I don't know that we can ever guarantee you that a technology is resilient to every possible issue, but I can tell you what we're working towards. We are separately working already on a wind activity. And one of the parts of that is we have been interviewing a number of the global wind manufacturers, Vestas, Siemens, etc., I won't name them all here, to find out what they are thinking about in terms of putting wind turbines in hurricane prone areas. And we've gotten some interesting information about that, which we will be sharing over the next couple months. And I think there are mitigation strategies for dealing with high wind speeds, several of which were not employed previously in Puerto Rico, and therefore led to some of the catastrophic failures during Hurricane Maria with the existing wind turbine fleet. So, we would anticipate doing things differently in the future with future deployments.

Additionally, we had enrolled people on the ground shortly after Hurricane Maria who had made stories about just quality control on some of the installations for the PV systems. One PV system was significantly damaged, and the one next to it was not and some of that had to do with just making sure the installation was done very well with that in mind. I think my final comment on this is that one of the values of renewable energy broadly is its modularity and its diversity of supply. Whereas you might have one very large traditional power plant, in this case, you would have 10 to 15 to 20 solar plants all of a smaller size and in aggregate the same amount of power, obviously. And so that modularity provides more resilience just in general. And then on the distributed side, obviously, PV and storage can provide greater value for backup power in certain situations.

Robin: All right. Well, that brings us to the end of our scheduled time. So, thank you to all of our presenters during today's event, including, again, all the community members who shared their messages with us. And we really do want to stay in touch with you. So once again, sign up for updates. You can email us with any questions you have. As a follow up to today's event, we'll send links to the slides and to the recordings to everyone who registered for the event. And all these great questions that have come in, we will respond to in writing, so look for that from us. There are more resources online about the recent MOU signing and web pages about the study. So please engage with us online. And thank you again so very much for joining us. We look forward to seeing you at our next event. And this concludes the program for today.