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first_imgHow Puerto Rico Can Rebuild Its Electricity System FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Politico:Months after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, most of the island’s population is still without power, an unprecedented outcome for a territory in the world’s most advanced nation. The destruction is so great that Puerto Rico effectively needs to rebuild its electric power system from the ground up, an overhaul that will cost billions of dollars.The storm’s devastation is tragic, but it also provides a rare chance to reimagine the Puerto Rican power system, currently so expensive and unreliable that it has become a major obstacle to the island’s economic growth. Instead of rebuilding its current system, based heavily on outdated oil-burning plants, Puerto Rico should take advantage of the island’s geographic position, recent technological advancements and billions of dollars in federal funding to rebuild its future around renewable energy. Such an overhaul would deliver cheap, reliable energy to Puerto Rico’s residents and businesses for a generation. Puerto Rico should not pass up this opportunity.Until the system’s failure during Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico obtained approximately 48 percent of its electric power from oil-fired power stations, 33 percent from natural gas, 17 percent from coal and the balance, about 2 percent, from wind and sun. Burning oil is one of the most expensive ways to generate electricity, costing 15 to 20 cents per kilowatt hour. It’s so expensive that no other state or territory uses oil as its main source of power. Consequently, Puerto Rico’s electricity prices are a whopping 80 percent to 100 percent higher than those of the rest of the country, which imposes extra costs on businesses and consumers, curtailing growth on the island.The island could dramatically reduce its electricity costs by switching its power sources from oil to solar and wind. In Puerto Rico, the sun shines an average of 7.44 hours per day and the trade winds are plentiful, making the island perfectly situated to obtain its energy from renewables and cutting electricity costs by up to 80 percent. In the Caribbean, wind and solar power are the least expensive ways of generating electricity, costing as little as 3 to 5 cents a kilowatt hour. Hawaii used to be in the same position as Puerto Rico, generating expensive electricity from oil, but it recently invested in an all-renewable system, which is set to be completed in 2045.The benefits would touch every corner of the island. Lower energy costs would cut power bills for Puerto Rico’s citizens, who are some of the poorest people in the U.S., and give them extra money to spend on restaurants and retail outlets. It would also attract more businesses to the island, where stratospherically costly and unreliable power supplies are a major disincentive to economic development. Clean air would also improve the island as a tourist destination, providing another boost to its struggling economy.Solar power could also increase the resilience of power supplies in Puerto Rico. Rooftop and land arrays near users would minimize the need for long-range power lines, which are inevitably damaged in the Caribbean’s frequent storms. Short low-voltage power lines can even be buried underground, making them immune to storm damage. Because solar and wind power must be stored for use when neither is available, storage capacity is needed to smooth out power fluctuations, an argument that critics often use against renewables. But recent technological improvements have enabled cheap, easy storage of solar and wind power, an approach now being used in Hawaii. California is also following this model as it pushes hard toward an energy system dominated by renewable power. Tesla recently supplied the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery to South Australia to smooth out its intermittent wind power, and it has publicly offered to do the same for Puerto Rico.Critics argue that renewable energy is very capital-intensive relative to fossil fuels, imposing huge upfront costs on states and territories. But these capital costs are manageable since wind and solar power have no subsequent fuel or operating costs. Building a solar or wind power station is like prepaying your electric bills for the next quarter-century: You pay everything upfront and then enjoy a financial respite for the life of the plant. Any extra capital costs will be recouped from fuel savings.In addition, Puerto Rico has a ready source of funds to rebuild its power system: the federal government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies are likely to distribute billions of dollars of aid to the island in response to the hurricanes. If the funding is properly structured, Puerto Rico could invest that money in renewables, modernizing its failing power system without imposing huge costs on the cash-strapped island, which, due to its huge debt levels, is unlikely to be able to raise the necessary capital in financial markets.A smart administration could even leverage the resources of the federal government to jump-start this energy transformation, providing Puerto Rico with a grant or loan to finance the new power system. On November 28, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill to do just that, calling it a “Marshall Plan” for Puerto Rico. If congressional Republicans reject his proposal, they could instead encourage independent power producers to set up new power stations by providing favorable tax treatment for their earnings, such as a tax exemption for the first 10 years.The entire cost of the project would be around $10 billion, a large amount but relatively small compared with the $100 billion losses from Hurricane Maria. After all, Puerto Rico must spend billions of dollars to replace its destroyed power system anyway. Investing in renewables would not only provide affordable power to Puerto Rico but also provide security against future storms that inevitably, and increasingly, batter the islands and would make the island a model for successful next-generation technologies.More: How to fix Puerto Rico’s power systemlast_img read more

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first_imgDear Editor,During the summer that just ended, Guyanese-Americans organised community events specifically designed to reunite kinfolks from a particular village and surrounding area in Guyana. These have become annual rituals that constitute a remembrance and celebration of life in that village and of the presence and achievements of those villagers and their descendants settled in America. Recreating ties among those spread across different areas in America, transmitting kin-based connections to offspring, is one of the objectives behind these joyous village reunions.Over the last two decades, Indo-Guyanese village and school reunions have become an annual ritual in New York City. They have institutionalised people (or those Americans who trace their roots) from every Indo-Guyanese village imaginable at gatherings (reunions) this past summer; and in fact have been so doing for many years – at the Flushing Park, Cunningham Park, Baysley Park, or Roy Wilkins Park, all of which also host cricket.And these reunions carried their own distinct labels, like Port Mourant Day, or Albion Day, or Rose Hall Day, or Canal Day, or Lesbeholden Day, etc. These reunions were organised by volunteers. The reunions attracted hundreds every Saturday and Sunday from the first weekend in July through end of September. The largest gatherings were usually Port Mourant, Albion, Enmore, Canal, Windsor Forest, Uitvlugt, Wales, Rose Hall Canje, Black Bush, etc. Non-villagers (from surrounding villages) also attend the reunions. I attended several to observe proceedings from a journalistic and academic perspective.All the school and village reunions tend to bring together people from back home in a fraternity. These reunions had a plethora of fun activities, including cricket, volleyball, track and field (bag racing, needle threading), dancing, and of course liquor drinking and a lot of eating. They saw each other and talked about those who lost hair, gained bellies, used reading glasses, etc. They showed off old photos of themselves, children, grandchildren and neighbours.Large music boxes tend to entertain the crowds with Indian and chatney songs, and occasionally there is a live band. Karaoke from well-known artistes is also part of the entertainment.These social events have meaning. The reunion is used as a fundraising drive to improve the village back in the old country. Raffles are held, participants also donate money; collected proceeds are sent home or used to organise next year’s activities. The money is given to some worthy project in Guyana – fixing a school; helping poor families; honouring outstanding Guyanese from that area – recognition.For older folks and those in poor health, a reunion presents a chance to see people whom they had not seen for a long time, and may also be seeing for the last time. The gatherings are also a way to celebrate shared heritage and culture; to exchange stories, and to honor the memories of those who have passed on.Participants disclose that it is a wonderful opportunity to be with village folks. The reunions allow members of a village to re-engage in face-to-face interaction that would keep alive memories of village life and to reminisce and celebrate their families and personalities. The holding of a village reunion also gives youngsters born in that village and migrated, as well as American-born of parents from those villages, a chance to meet and get to know their ancestral villagers, and anyone else who is from that village; and by extension from Guyana. It is amazing to hear youngsters born in America say they are from Port Mourant, or Anna Regina, or Berbice, or Guyana. The reunions are a welcome activity – a re-enactment of nostalgia back to a time and place that formed an important part of Guyanese life. They help people catch up with the past after a long period, serve a therapeutic effect on the old, feeble and lonely. There is much consoling over losses, and gratification and joy at meeting again. The connections, shared values and common experiences re-unite them all once again, until another summer, when they hope to meet again.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more

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first_imgDONEGAL golf fan Louis Boyce got to see his favourite stars at the Pro-Am at Royal Portrush today.Louis, who completed his Masters thesis on the tournament in Co Antrim, was rubbing shoulders with top actors, sportsmen and of course golfers today.And he has sent in some pix from the course today. Actor Billy Murray, Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill and a host of other celebrities are playing today alongside major winners like Padraig Harrington, Greame McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke.Hundreds of golf fans from Donegal are at Royal Portrush today with many more expected over the next four days as the real action gets underway tomorrow.Louis predicted: “This will have a massive tourism potential for Donegal because tourists who come to Portrush will go on to courses in Donegal.“The Irish Open is being seen in 50 countries worldwide.” PICTURE SPECIAL FROM THE IRISH OPEN PRO-AM AT ROYAL PORTRUSH was last modified: June 27th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:PICTURE SPECIAL FROM THE IRISH OPEN PRO-AM AT ROYAL PORTRUSHlast_img read more

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