Multi-Lab Energy Planning Support for Puerto Rico

NREL provides Puerto Rico stakeholders with tools, training, and modeling support to enable planning and operation of the electric power grid with more resilience against further disruptions.

Since Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September 2017, NREL has partnered on this effort with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other national laboratories:

  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Sandia National Laboratories.
Image of solar panels in grassy field in Hawaii.

Quantifying the Solar Energy Resource for Puerto Rico

View a publication related to ongoing energy planning support in Puerto Rico.

Current activities are funded through an interagency agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The DOE Office of Electricity and Solar Energy Technologies Office has funded past activities.

Ongoing Activities

For Puerto Rico, we are working to deliver tool enhancements, hands-on support with energy system modeling and scenarios, short-term and day-ahead resource forecasts, and storm checklists for solar systems.

PVWatts Calculator

We are developing a Spanish version of the PVWatts Calculator.

System Advisor Model

We are updating the System Advisor Model (SAM) with mini-grid capabilities relevant to Puerto Rico systems. We have already developed Spanish versions of the following SAM resources:

Introducción a SAM (Modelo para Asesoría de Sistemas)

Guía de introducción del SAM BORRADOR

SAM template file.

Engage Tool

We are providing support for use of the Engage™️ tool as a convening hub for collaborative, user-driven capacity expansion planning in Puerto Rico including energy system models, scenarios, and local capacity-building.

Solar Resource Data

We have developed solar resource data for Puerto Rico. Also, we are developing a capability to deliver 2 kilometer, 5-minute resolution solar resource data in near real-time and additional enhancements using next-generation satellite data. Intended use is for net-load forecasting dispatch in Puerto Rico and more generally, as well as day-ahead forecasts for specific periods as required by NREL researchers conducting modeling and analysis for Puerto Rico.

Pre- and Post-Storm Checklists for Solar Installations

We are building capacity to secure Puerto Rico's distributed and large-scale solar PV assets against natural hazards by developing pre- and post-storm checklists for solar installations for use by asset owners, operators, and other relevant stakeholders. Stakeholder input will be incorporated, and checklists will be shared broadly, including on this site.

We aim to deliver for Puerto Rico a modeling and simulation framework to analyze distributed energy resource (DER) regulation strategies, key considerations for microgrid technical requirements, field-implementation solutions and simulation results for hybrid plants, and potential scenarios for solar and storage adoption.

Voltage Regulation Strategies

We are Investigating voltage regulation strategies for DER with a focus on inverter-based DER technology types to illustrate functionality for determining performance categories and settings for voltage regulation modes. This will assist the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority in the utilization of DER voltage and reactive power control capabilities supported by IEEE Std. 1547-2018.

Microgrid Technical Requirements

We are developing microgrid technical requirements consistent with IEEE Standard 1547-2018, including considerations for potential pilot demonstrations at multiple scales. This includes developing a modeling and simulation framework focused on inverter-based DER technology types and capabilities supported by the IEEE standard.

Hybrid Power Plants

We are conducting analysis to identify the potential of hybrid power plants—utility-scale wind or solar facilities co-located with battery storage—to improve the reliability and resilience of the power systems in Puerto Rico, as well as optimal sizes and locations for co-virtual hybrid plants.

Solar and Storage Adoption Scenarios

We are developing scenarios of solar and storage adoption in Puerto Rico using NREL's Distributed Generation Market Demand model and Puerto Rico Energy Efficiency Scenario Analysis Tool, a spreadsheet tool developed to analyze the potential for DER and demand response to provide resilience, flexibility, and consumer benefits.

Water Treatment Plant Resilience

We will conduct modeling and analysis on resilience of wastewater treatment plants to power outages to identify opportunities increase resilience and ensure safe water conditions.

We are supporting Puerto Rico through effective information dissemination to stakeholders in the form of workshops and other resources. We also are providing responsive capacity development in the form of on-demand technical assistance.

Past Activities

Key activities included:

  • Delivering high-resolution solar resource data for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through the National Solar Radiation Database
  • Delivering models of Puerto Rico using grid modeling tools—Flexible Energy Scheduling Tool for Integrating Variable Generation and Multi-Area Frequency Response Integration Tool—and training models on real data
  • Developing and executing an educational module that provides analytical support to stakeholders on best practices for interconnection of distributed energy resources and IEEE 1547 standard
  • Delivering Puerto Rico-specific SAM improvements to provide foundational solar profiles for production cost modeling and to enable stakeholders to perform detailed cost-benefit analysis of renewable energy systems, accounting for resiliency and ancillary service functionality
  • Developing accessible end-user, cost-benefit tools with training sessions aimed at ensuring robust, data-driven investment decisions across Puerto Rico
  • Engaging with stakeholders to understand local energy planning needs and provide information about the multi-lab effort and results through workshops in San Juan and Mayaguez in March and a webinar series in the fall.

NREL provided to Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority with “…recommendations for a new framework of interconnection standards to accelerate the integration of utility-scale, transmission-connected renewable electrical generation and energy storage that ensure cross-technology compatibility and enable high deployment levels without compromising grid reliably, safety, or security.” (Sources: Considerations for Distributed Energy Resource Integration in Puerto Rico and Interconnection Requirements for Renewable Generation and Energy Storage in Island Systems: Puerto Rico Example)

Past Webinar Series

These webinars were presented in 2019.

Energy Planning Tools—Free, Accessible, and Relevant to Puerto Rico

Community Solar, Financing, and Visualizing Solar Potential

Solar Technical Potential and Infrastructure, Transmission, and Operating Resilience Analysis

Energy Efficiency, Resilience, and Grid Modeling for Puerto Rico

Publications

These resources are directly related to the ongoing activities and efforts to provide energy system planning support to Puerto Rico following the 2017 hurricane season.

See all NREL publications related to Puerto Rico in the NREL Publications Database.

Puerto Rico: Emerging Opportunities for Energy Efficiency and Equitable Clean Energy Development, 21st ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings (2020) To view this paper, select ‘Table of Contents’, then “Panel 9’, then select the PDF icon under the paper title. 

Interconnection Requirements for Renewable Generation and Energy Storage: Puerto Rico Example: Preprint, NREL Conference Paper (2019)

Modeling Tools

These tools may be of particular benefit to those engaged in energy system planning for Puerto Rico. For a comprehensive list, see NREL's Data and Tools.

These tools are publicly available and don't require technical modeling skills.

Building Energy Optimization Tool– Used to evaluate residential building designs and identify cost-optimal efficiency packages at various levels of whole-house energy savings along the path to zero net energy.

Community Solar Scenario Tool– Provides a “first cut” analysis of different community or shared solar program options.

Engage™ – Modeling tool that makes cross-sectoral energy system planning and simulation easier and more accessible.

Jobs and Economic Development Impact Models – User-friendly tools that estimate economic impacts of constructing and operating power generation and biofuel plants at local and state levels.

National Solar Radiation Database– A collection of meteorological and solar irradiance data sets for the U.S. and a growing list of international locations.

Puerto Rico Energy Efficiency Scenario Analysis Tool – An energy efficiency scenario analysis spreadsheet tool.

PVWatts Calculator – A calculator that estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected photovoltaic energy systems throughout the world.

REopt Lite – A decision-support tool used to optimize energy systems for buildings, campuses, communities, and microgrids.

ResStock – Performs large-scale residential energy analysis by combining public and private data sources, statistical sampling, detailed sub-hourly building simulations, and high-performance computing to help users identify which home improvements save the most energy and money.

System Advisor Model– A free computer program that calculates a renewable energy system's hourly energy output over a single year, and the cost of energy for a renewable energy project over the life of the project.

These tools require some technical modeling skills or are used by NREL researchers to conduct modeling and analysis with and for external partners:

Flexible Energy Scheduling Tool for Integrating Variable Generation – A multiple-timescale, interconnected simulation tool that includes security-constrained unit commitment, security-constrained economic dispatch, and automatic generation control sub-models.

Multi-Area Frequency Response Integration Tool – Simulates the power system dynamic response in full time spectrum with variable time steps from millisecond to days under both normal and event conditions.

Other Related Resources

The following resources are relevant to Puerto Rico energy system planning but were not directly related to the interagency-funded projects following the 2017 hurricane season.

The following resources were not funded by and are not affiliated with DOE or its national laboratories but are relevant to Puerto Rico energy system planning, recovery, and resilience.

We Want Sun and We Want More: 75% Distributed Renewable Generation in 15 Years in Puerto Rico Is Achievable and Affordable, CAMBIO and Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (2021)

10-Year Infrastructure Plan, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (2020)

Final Resolution and Order on the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s Integrated Resource Plan, Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (2020)

Transformation and Innovation in the Wake of Devastation: An Economic and Disaster Recovery Plan for Puerto Rico, Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resiliency (2018)

Public Collaborative for Puerto Rico's Energy Future, Institute for a Competitive and Sustainable Economy and Rocky Mountain Institute (2018)

Build Back Better: Reimagining and Strengthening the Power Grid of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Energy Resiliency Working Group (2017)

Puerto Rico Solar Map: Solar Generation and Storage Projects at Critical Facilities Since Hurricane Maria

ReImagina Puerto Rico Final Reports

Puerto Rican Solar Business Accelerator, The Solar Foundation

Contact

For more information on our efforts in Puerto Rico, contact prprojects@nrel.gov.