by Byron R. Núñez
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has more than $70 billion of debt, most of which can be attributed to the United States’ decision to cut corporate tax breaks. The current financial crisis has created a mass exodus by U.S. companies and people from the Island. To ameliorate the situation, President Barack Obama signed the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which led to the creation of a committee design to manage the island’s finances. This economic instability has forced Puerto Rico’s energy sector to reinvent itself and become more cost-effective and efficient. Currently, Puerto Ricans pay two to three times more for electricity than average Americans. The strongest factor for the island’s high energy costs is that 80% of the energy used on the island comes from imported petroleum as the island itself does not produce nor refine crude oil. Sustainable energy is key to Puerto Rico’s future as the island hopes to comply with a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) that hopes to supply 20% of electricity with green energy by 2035. One company that is hoping to revitalize the island’s struggling economy though the energy sector is Green Kinetic Power (GKP), LLC.
GKP, LLC is a Puerto Rican based company that created the Traffic Energy Bar System (TEBS). TEBS is a patented technology that captures kinetic energy from the weight of moving vehicular traffic and converts it into electrical energy. The electricity is produced by electromagnetic generators that can be interconnected and synchronized in a scalable manner to generate large-scale clean energy. The mechanism is installed in the roads and is activated when a vehicle travels over the unit. This Puerto Rican company is hoping to reduce carbon generation by providing clean energy.
One clear advantage of this technology is that it can also provide traffic data (frequency of vehicles, their weight, and their speed) for public authorities to use. Puerto Rico’s economy needs major reforms for the island to get rid of its debt and solve its energy crisis. TEBS hopes to do its part to produce clean energy while also creating green jobs and contributing to the islands economic development and growth. This technology is now also available in Europe and the United States.