How Puerto Rico’s Energy Sector Can Revitalize the Island’s Struggling Economy.

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. Continue reading

Turning the Kinetic Energy of Everyday Movements into Light

by Nina Lee

What would happen if we thought of energy not as a resource to be saved up, but as a resource to be constantly created and used? Uncharted Play, the brainchild of Jessica O. Matthews, is a company that challenges the way our society values energy. Matthews is a Nigerian-American Harvard graduate, inventor, and CEO who was inspired to create alternative energy sources after an experience with her family in Nigeria. During her aunt’s wedding, there was a power outage- a very common occurrence- and diesel generators had to be used to supply energy. The generators were emitting toxic fumes that everybody but Matthews seemed to be used to. When she later returned to the United States and continued her education, she wanted to create a cleaner alternative to the energy sources her community in Nigeria were utilizing. Continue reading