Climate change, such as rising sea temperature, is feeding hurricanes to be more destructive. Stats tell the story. Research the meteorological uplift behind Hurricane Ian in Florida, or any named storm in past five years, and you’ll get the picture
And no place has suffered from that ferocity more than Puerto Rico. The island’s grid has been severed numerous times and forced to repair widespread grid damage, including most recently with Hurricane Fiona last month.
The repeated storm damage has inspired many developers both in Puerto Rico and beyond to embrace microgrids and on-site combined heat and power plants as alternatives to the traditional transmission and distribution systems fed by utility power plants.
One such localized unit maintained operations throughout the Fiona storm. The Rincon Beach Resort located in Anasco, PR, stayed working throughout the storm and its aftermath when so many MWs were stranded.
The combined heat and power (CHP) plant keeping Rincon Beach Resort going includes a 240-kW electric capacity, propane-fueled unit from 2G Energy. The system was switched to island mode during the Fiona onslaught.
“The 2G propane CHP system allowed us to continue operations through the storm while the majority of facilities struggled to remain online,” Eduardo Somoza, of Rincon Beach Resort, said. “As part of the territory continues without power weeks later, the system has allowed us to continue operating on ‘island mode’.”
2G Energy has supplied CHP systems to several entities in Puerto Rico, including a 2.2-MW gas-fired plant powering a pharmaceutical facility in Manati and a 3.4-MW CHP for a customer in Caguas.
Other 2G Energy CHP plants run on gas or biofuels in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Canada, Mexico and Honduras.
Hurricane Fiona caused more than 20 deaths and $100 million in damages to the island’s agricultural industry, according to reports.
Proponents of cleaning up on-site power generation say propane has lower emissions of greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide than diesel-powered units. The U.S. Propane Education and Research Center noted that this Friday is being celebrated as the first-ever National Propane Day.
“With propane, we’re ensuring affordable, accessible energy while reducing carbon emissions,” said Joe Calhoun, director of off-road business development at PERC. “October 7 is a celebration of propane and its many benefits as a clean and reliable energy source that’s available now.”
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