"Puerto Rico Hands Control of its Power Plants to a Natural Gas Company"

"Advocates worry that the privatization of the territory’s generation units, which was negotiated in secret and awarded to a controversial company, will slow the transition to renewable energy."

"Puerto Rican authorities have hired a natural gas company to operate the island’s publicly-owned fleet of fossil fuel power plants, despite the commonwealth facing increasing pressure to rapidly transition its aging energy system to renewable sources.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced Wednesday that his government had signed a contract with New Fortress Energy, a New York-based company that currently supplies the territory with liquefied natural gas, or LNG. The company has already generated a series of controversies in Puerto Rico. Soon, New Fortress could manage contracts to purchase gas from itself on behalf of the island’s residents.

Environmental and consumer advocates warned that the contract, which was negotiated in secret and remained confidential until after it was signed, will hamper the island’s efforts to phase out fossil fuels and drive electricity costs higher.

“You’re bringing another private interest entrenched in the fossil fuel industry that is going to have a political and economic interest in continuing to sell fossil fuels to Puerto Rico,” said Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst at CAMBIO, a Puerto Rican environmental advocacy group. “It’s hard to see how that’s not going to set back the renewable energy goals.”"

Nicholas Kusnetz reports for Inside Climate News January 26, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 01/27/2023