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Wed May 8, 2019, 09:18 AM

Puerto Rico to eliminate coal power next year

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –Puerto Rico has a plan in motion to shut down its coal-burning power plants by next year. After going through an energy and current pollution crisis, governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló signed the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act, which claims the island will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Not only this, but they must draw 40 percent of their energy from renewables by 2025.

According to the Senate Bill 1121 (PS 1121), which passed with bipartisan support, coal-burning power plants will get the axe in 2020 and all other coal-burning in Puerto Rico will be eliminated in 2028. Currently, the AES Energy Systems coal plant is responsible for 17 percent of the island’s power production. As it stands, AES could see their contracts amended should those same coal plants be modified to use green energy.

However, AES is also in the middle of a controversy regarding its role in disposing of over two tons of toxic coal ash on the island. Between 2004 and 2011 the company was shown to have dumped tons of toxic coal ash across fourteen municipalities across the island. Due to the lax way that it was disposed of, the ash has found its way in the water systems, reduced air quality and increased overall pollution and health risks.

Coal waste has polluted Puerto Rico’s groundwater with “signs of radioactivity, in addition to traces of arsenic, chromium, selenium and molybdenum,” according to a local news investigation. Graffiti seen on a wall reads “Puerto Rico free of [coal] ash… Who Is Killing Us?” near a landfill where coal waste is deposited in Tallaboa, Penuelas, Puerto Rico.

Read mpre: https://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/2019/05/01/puerto-rico-to-eliminate-coal-power-next-year/

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