Utility Resilience: Climate Adaptation Forum
The following is a summary of the Panel Discussion “Utility Resilience: Lessons from Puerto Rico,” from the Climate Adaptation Forum on November 30, 2018.
Climate Adaptation Forum, a quarterly discussion organized by the Environmental Business Council of New England and UMass Boston Sustainable Solutions Lab, recently hosted “Utility Resilience: Lessons from Puerto Rico.” I had the honor to speak, telling the story of how ResilientSEE formed and the work we have been conducting. In addition to island-wide analyses, we have been studying specific communities like the Toa Baja Municipality – where 48% of the terrain is a floodplain. With such severe challenges, we must work across disciplines and within communities to co-author sustainable, resilient solutions.
The panel discussion also included Malu Blázquez Arsuaga, Executive Director of the Resilient Puerto Rico Advisory Commission, who gave a comprehensive presentation of many ongoing rebuilding efforts and the positive impacts that have been felt in communities across the Island. Malu explained how, through a tiered approach, Puerto Rico has pledged to run on completely renewable energy by 2050. This, of course, requires the transformation of current energy sources and the creation of new infrastructure to support it.
Jonathan Marvel, co-founder of Resilient Power Puerto Rico, shared his group’s transformative efforts to create Community Hubs with renewable energy. He explained that, because batteries are critical to the operation of PV panel systems, battery market scarcity affects the group’s ability to sustainably expand to more communities.
The panel was educational and informative for the Boston community and, critically important to all of our efforts, illuminated potential synergies and opportunities for collaboration between different groups and initiatives.