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December 1, 2017

Energy – SciPol Weekly, November 25 – December 1

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Government

DailyEnergyInsider – Rebuilding stronger, more resilient energy infrastructure in U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico focus of congressional delegation

DoE Under Secretary Mark Menezes said seeing the impact of Hurricane Maria’s devastation first-hand was “truly an eye-opening and heartbreaking experience.” “But the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are strong, and together we will restore and rebuild their home,” Menezes added. “The Department of Energy is deeply committed to working with our government and industry partners in order to restore energy and power back to our fellow Americans.”

The Virgin Islands Consortium – Governor Mapp Asks Congress for $5.5 Billion to Help Rebuild USVI

In a letter forwarded to congressional leaders, the governor outlined the costs associated with restoring the territory’s power system, rebuilding schools and hospitals, repairing government facilities and covering revenue losses as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. “On behalf of the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands, we are grateful for your concern and dedication to our recovery,” Mr. Mapp wrote. “After a comprehensive and thoughtful examination of our damages and recovery requirements, we believe that disaster assistance and support of approximately $5.5 billion would enable the territory to address the most essential needs of American citizens residing in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

The Washington Post – Bernie Sanders to unveil a $146 billion ‘Marshall Plan’ for Puerto Rico

The bill, which has the backing of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, also calls on Congress to consider retiring Puerto Rico’s debt and would give the island billions in additional federal funding for transportation, health care and education in the hopes of stemming a feared mass exodus to the mainland. It would also allocate funds to the Virgin Islands, which were similarly devastated by Hurricane Maria. “This is the closest we have to a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico,” said Ramón Luis Nieves, a former member of the Senate of Puerto Rico who has testified to Congress about the hurricane’s impacts.

Industry

Microgrid Knowledge – What is the Future of Microgrids in the Post-Hurricane Virgin Islands?

How best to go about rebuilding is the multi-billion dollar question hanging over the US Virgin Islands as it picks itself up from massive destruction wrought by the recent hurricanes. Now a strong contingent of government and private sector leaders see microgrid opportunities arising out of the devastation — a chance to harness renewable energy resources in concert with the latest in distributed energy technologies to create a more robust and resilient grid. 

timesunion – National Grid crews, other utilities head to Puerto Rico

More than 160 utility workers and nearly 100 utility vehicles from New York state have arrived in Puerto Rico to help the U.S. territory restore its power grid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has slammed the federal response to the storm. He has made two trips to the island since the storm hit in September.

UtilityDive – Whitefish Energy resumes work in Puerto Rico after 'good faith' payment

Last week, Whitefish halted its work efforts, citing $83 million it says the island had not paid. It has now received a payment that it says shows the island has a "good faith intent to pay." However, it is unclear if some of those funds in arrears will be caught up in PREPA's bankruptcy. The utility holds about $9 billion in debt. Whitefish's controversial contract has since been terminated, but the Montana-based company agreed to complete projects which were in progress and remain in Puerto Rico through the end of November. 

Science

Department of Energy – High Concentrations of Rare Earth Elements Found in American Coal Basins

“Rare Earth Elements are vital to the development and manufacturing of high-tech devices such as computers, cell phones, and our national defense systems,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “The current difficulties and high expenses associated with REE extraction has left the U.S. dependent on foreign REE imports. Supporting innovative research and development to establish efficient, cost-effective REE extraction methods is critical to our country’s energy and national security.”

ScienceDaily – Scientists develop artificial photosynthesis device for greener ethylene production

A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a prototype device that mimics natural photosynthesis to produce ethylene gas using only sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. The novel method, which produces ethylene at room temperature and pressure using benign chemicals, could be scaled up to provide a more eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to the current method of ethylene production.

 

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