This week’s order revamps PREPA’s proposal, which was prepared by gas turbine supplier Siemens. Taken together, the order significantly revamps the utility’s plan, prepared by Siemens, which many environmental and clean energy groups had criticized as too reliant on natural gas. Regulators framed their decision on the utility’s IRP as a “no-regrets” approach to Puerto Rico’s electricity transition. “The most important issues were rejected, specifically the reliance on new [liquefied natural gas] terminals in Puerto Rico and new natural-gas facilities,” said Agustín Carbó-Lugo, a senior manager at the Environmental Defense Fund’s energy program and a former chair of the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau. “I thought that was huge.” In addition to relying on more renewables, the proposal from regulators will cost less, around an estimate of $13.8 billion compared to about $14.4 billion for PREPA’s preferred plan. Regulators approved billions of dollars for transmission and distribution hardening and up to $5 million for initial permitting and siting work on a proposed gas plant, though the bureau did not give that plant the official go-ahead. PREPA has also received approval to convert the oil-fired San Juan plant to run on natural gas, a process that’s already underway and that the […]

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