About This Project
Puerto Rico went dark after experiencing one of the most disastrous hurricane season in its history. A month after Hurricane Maria, 80% of the population still has no power. The collapse of Puerto Rico’s electric system can be an opportunity for technology innovation and energy transition. Through this project I will conduct a baseline assessment of stakeholder visions for Puerto Rico’s energy future using data from key stakeholders collected over the past year up to the hurricanes.
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What is the context of this research?
The damage to Puerto Rico’s electric system is so severe that it invites us to explore options that go beyond simply repairing the old grid. Alternative energy technologies can have a significant impact on the island’s recovery and economic development potential. An energy transition will require leadership, participation and commitment from diverse stakeholders at local, regional, and state level. A multisectorial Energy Forum of Constituents of the National Institute of Energy and Island Sustainability (INESI), developed a Future Vision for Sustainable Energy Transition prior to the hurricane events and as part of this effort, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), were collected in-depth interviews of stakeholders that influence decision making on electric system.
What is the significance of this project?
The fragmented vision of production, distribution and energy consumption is not a sustainable option for the island. Puerto Ricans need to recognize the value of setting a transformative vision to their energy future and the role of diverse stakeholders to set and evaluate the pathways to achieve it. Different energy transitions have different drivers and provide a diverse set of challenges and opportunities. The electrical system could be transformed to minimize vulnerabilities and maximize opportunities, but it would be misleading to assume that a system transformation can occur without stakeholder intervention. This project will provide baseline information to start the constructive dialogue and make decisions for the sustainable energetic future of Puerto Rico in a timely manner.
What are the goals of the project?
As a starting point to Puerto Rico’s energy transition, it is crucial to understand the visions that stakeholders held prior to the hurricane disaster and examine potential barriers and opportunities to constructing alternative pathways.
The primary goals are to:
1) identify the vision and values that different stakeholders have about the energy future
2) validate a collective vision that can contribute to projects assessment
3) develop a peer-reviewed publication to provide a reference for transition efforts
The principal objectives are to:
1) identify approximations between the visions and values of the diverse sectors
2) explore whether there is collective understanding of the obstacles and opportunities to advance a shared vision of energy transformation
Funds will provide stipend to support the research of a student who lost her source of income due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The stipend will cover food, lodging, travel costs and healthcare. Research activities will include data review, entry and management, data analysis, writing the initial reflections report and draft manuscript for publication, with the support and supervision of her advisory committee.
Oct 31, 2017
Oct 31, 2017
Dec 01, 2017
Data review and collation complete
Dec 08, 2017
Preliminary data analysis complete
Dec 15, 2017
Initial reflections report complete
Meet the Team
I have a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Urban-Territorial Planning. I am currently a master-level graduate student at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. I continued my studies in Environmental Sciences, to integrate new knowledge and another perspective to my interdisciplinary professional career. Since 2009, I have worked diligently to promote sustainable development in Puerto Rico through education and advocacy planning. Throughout my research, my goal has been to contribute to the progress of sustainable strategies that allow an overall improvement of Puerto Rico. I am truly committed to the effective transfer of scientific research outside the academic environment, to use this science to support informed environmental advocacy and to find ways to live in harmony with the natural world around us. Leading by example, I want to create a path of opportunities for women interested in sciences and sustainability. I believe that education is a crucial tool to create a sustainable future for Puerto Rico and I am implementing this vision in my role as a mother to my one-year old daughter, Sarah. In the future, I would like to be an educator in the field of sustainability, and work hand in hand with trainees to implement projects of social-technical approach.
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