The Caribbean island of nearly 4 million people now gets nearly all of its electricity from oil-burning plants. The government-owned power utility is planning to boost investment in natural gas generators, wind energy, wave and other kinds of alternative energy, but has made little progress.
Morales said the turbines will be erected on a 45-acre (18-hectare) parcel of dry forest in the southern coastal town of Guayanilla. He said his agency had crafted a balance between sustainable development and conservation of natural resources, saying most of the developer’s 290-acre (117-hectare) property will be set aside for conservation. Roughly "83 percent of the total property will remain always in its natural state," Morales said.
The Puerto Rico Electric Energy Authority (AEE) also has announced an agreement with the Compañía de Vientos (Wind Company) of Puerto Rico for the construction of 20 wind turbines. The wind power project is part of an effort to simultaneously lower energy costs and reduce Puerto Rico’s dependence on fossil fuels. The turbines will begin generating power in 2012.
Once they are in operation, the wind turbines are expected to generate enough wind power to sustain about 14,000 households. The agreement specifies that AEE will pay $0.091 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the wind-generated energy, $0.186 below the current price for energy from gas turbines at $0.28 per kWh.
AEE is investing $165 million in the wind power project, according to an announcement from Puerto Rico Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila, as part of an effort to decrease reliance on oil as an energy source by 20 percent before 2015. The new wind farm will be located in Arecibo, where the utility operates another, gas-powered plant. Additional projects are expected to increase the potential for wind-generated power as well as other renewable sources as AEE’s energy portfolio becomes more diversified.