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Puerto Rico's solar-powered energy oasis
3 April 2018 - Since Hurricane Maria struck in 2017, Puerto Rico has struggled to restore power. But in one building in the mountain town of Adjuntas, the lights never went out. 'Casa Pueblo had been running with solar power for almost 20 years,' said Arturo Massol Deya, president of Casa Pueblo, an environmental nonprofit and community center. (more)

Puerto Rico designates popular beach as natural reserve
27 December 2017 - Puerto Rico's governor has declared one of the U.S. territory's most popular beaches as a natural reserve. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Tuesday [26 December] that the area has some 164 species, including several that are in danger of becoming extinct. (more)

Puerto Rico is being rebuilt with the aid of solar companies
6 December 2017 - The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is still devastated and is struggling with basic needs, including a widespread lack of electricity. It has been two months since Hurricane Maria devastated the island ... In early October, Digital Journal began reporting on the number of entrepreneurs, volunteers solar energy companies, and tech companies that had stepped up to aid Puerto Rico in restoring the power grid and cell phone access. And the efforts have not stopped. For example, OHorizons is sending 25,000 solar lights with batteries and charging systems that generate up to 15 hours of power per charge, as well as 75 solar refrigeration units ... (more)

Struggling Puerto Rico children's hospital gets solar power from Tesla
25 October 2017 - A children's hospital in Puerto Rico that was forced to run off generators and ration diesel fuel in the wake of Hurricane Maria now has a solar power system that will supply all of its electricity needs. Tesla and Puerto Rico's governor touted the project yesterday (24 October), sending out multiple official tweets and Facebook posts, and officials said today (25 October) that the system is already providing solar-generated electricity to the hospital. Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that his company could bring solar power to Puerto Rico. (more)

Tesla solar power arrives in Puerto Rico
25 October 2017 - Entrepreneur Elon Musk has followed through on his plan to boost power resources in Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Mr Musk's firm, Tesla, has set up solar panels and energy storage batteries at Hospital del Nino, a children's hospital in San Juan. Mr Musk has also donated $250,000 of his own money to support humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico, where many people are still without electricity. ... (more)

A fire department in Puerto Rico is now powered by solar
13 October 2017 - The Barrio Obrero fire station on Friday installed a 4-kilowatt solar system that will provide it with full power, including its communications system. The station has been without reliable power since Hurricane Maria struck the island on September 20. 'Putting this in is the difference between life and death in this community,' Capt. Richard Birt told CNBC by phone. (more)

Solar competitors band together to help bring electricity to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico
9 October 2017 - Solar companies are banding together to help restore electricity to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico as 90 percent of the island's 3.5 million residents remain without power. Solar supplies such as roofing, generators, and tent shelters worth about $2 million are expected to arrive in the territory in the coming weeks. Most of that aid is coming from a national solar industry group, which is sending a plane to Puerto Rico with $1.2 million in supplies donated by its members. More aid is coming from a new group called Light Up Puerto Rico that was formed in the days after Hurricane Maria tore through the island. (more)

DIY do-gooders direct Caribbean disaster relief efforts
4 October 2017 - Want to help Puerto Rico recover? Amateur analysts of satellite imagery around the world are pointing relief workers to where they are needed most. Anyone can do it! Humans are better than computers at understanding unstructured data, such as satellite photos, because that requires context, says Steven Reece, a machine learning expert at Oxford. The computer 'can remove biases, fold in other information, and come up with a 95 percent reliable best guess' at the real situation on the ground, Dr. Reece explains. That information is then expressed in a 'heat map' that goes to disaster relief teams so that they can set their priorities. ... But between them, says Professor Simmons, an astronomer, 'they did two years' worth of one person's work in just two weeks' when Irma, and then Maria, struck. (more)

How solar energy saved a Puerto Rican farm from Hurricane Maria
4 October 2017 - While his competitors wait for diesel to restart generators knocked out by Hurricane Maria, flower grower Hector Santiago is already back in business because of solar panels powering his 40-acre (16.2-hectare) nursery in central Puerto Rico. Santiago's experience has left him hoping that Puerto Rico will begin relying more on solar power and other renewable energy as it looks to fix its damaged grid. (more)

US to clean 1 of Puerto Rico's worst polluted waterways
30 October 2015 - The United States pledged Friday to help clean one of Puerto Rico's most polluted waterways in a move to end a 15-year struggle by the U.S. territory to [improve the situation] for a community where thousands of people live. The agreement signed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations marks the beginning of an extensive, multimillion-dollar cleanup of the four-mile (six-kilometer) long Martin Pena Channel. It forms part of the San Juan Bay Estuary in the heart of Puerto Rico's capital. (more)

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Puerto Rico: Maharishi University of Management alumna presents at international renewable energy conference
6 January 2015 - Claudia Perez, a recent graduate of the Sustainable Living degree programme at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, was a guest speaker on renewable energy at a conference in Puerto Rico towards the end of last year, after winning a competition sponsored by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). She presented a proposal she developed as part of her senior thesis project, advocating for renewable energy in her native Puerto Rico, to top policy makers, investors, technology developers, and other experts in the renewable energy field throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the US.

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The hurricane hit Puerto Rico's paradise of hotels and resorts hard - and workers are facing an uncertain future
5 February 2018 - Many tourist havens, like Vieques and Fajardo, are still in need of stable cell phone service and electricity. And people who made a living in hospitality jobs are facing months of being out of work. One of Puerto Rico's largest resorts, the El Conquistador, is still closed to the public more than four months after suffering extensive damage. Two weeks ago, management laid off close to 1,000 staff members, according to local officials and former staff members. (more)

Puerto Rico struggles with massive environmental crisis
16 October 2017 - Raw sewage is pouring into the rivers and reservoirs of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. People without running water bathe and wash their clothes in contaminated streams, and some islanders have been drinking water from condemned wells. Nearly a month after the hurricane made landfall, Puerto Rico is only beginning to come to grips with a massive environmental emergency that has no clear end in sight. (more)

Power blackout leaves darkened Puerto Rico isolated and paralyzed
26 September 2017 - Hurricane Maria's devastation of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico last week left the entire island and its 3.4 million residents without power. Officials are still evaluating what is needed to kick off a months-long effort to bring back electricity, meaning millions of people could face an extended period without clean water, refrigeration, safe food, or medical supplies. (more)

Puerto Ricans face punishing drought amid economic slump
6 August 2015 - Puerto Ricans are learning to live without water on an island that already was suffering an economic crisis. A severe drought is forcing businesses to temporarily close, public schools to cancel breakfast service, and people to find creative ways to stay clean amid sweltering temperatures. The drought is one of the worst in the U.S. territory's history. (more)

Misery deepens for those in Puerto Rico who can't leave
3 August 2015 - Puerto Rico's entrenched economic crisis is leading people to either cut their personal spending to the basics or flee to the mainland (United States) to search for jobs, contributing to the struggles of those left on the island. Nearly 10 years into a deep economic slump, Puerto Rico is no closer to pulling out, and, in fact, is poised to plummet further. (more)

Puerto Rico matches number of killings for 2010
12 November 2011 - Puerto Rico has equalled the number of killings reported for all of last year when the US Caribbean territory marked its second highest number of slayings ever. Police said Saturday that 983 people have been killed so far this year. Police say the majority of slayings are drug-related. (more)

Massive Puerto Rico pipeline triggers debate
14 May 2011 - Puerto Rico's Governor is proposing to solve soaring energy prices on this oil-dependent US island with a massive natural gas pipeline that would cross some of the territory's most fragile ecosystems and archaeological sites. Gov. Luis Fortuno has made the $450 million project a central goal of his administration and he insists it is a safe, environment-friendly way to lower utility bills. But others say the 92-mile (148-kilometre) pipeline will tear up lush green mountains and expose people living near it to deadly explosions. The pipeline proposal, which Fortuno has dubbed 'The Green Way,' also has sparked corruption allegations. The largest contract so far has gone to an engineering firm with no pipeline construction experience that is owned by a childhood friend of the Governor. (more)

ACLU: Puerto Rico has pattern of police brutality
3 May 2011 - A celebrity-enhanced ACLU delegation criticized Puerto Rico's government Tuesday for using police to keep the island's main university system open during a strike over a new fee, with members saying they found clear evidence in which officers abused students during the protests. The delegation, which included Oscar-nominated actress Rosie Perez and former major league baseball player Carlos Delgado, said the initial findings of a fact-finding mission found a pattern of excessive police force over the past 18 months involving students, union leaders, and journalists. Perez said at a news conference that she was overwhelmed by the testimony of students who said they were brutalized or harassed and abused by police during a series of violent clashes over the $800 fee and budget cuts. (more)

Puerto Rico baffled by high asthma rate
26 December 2010 - Puerto Rico is a US Caribbean territory where children are nearly 300 per cent more likely to have the respiratory ailment than white non-Hispanic children in the continental United States. And this year, Puerto Rico has seen a jump in asthma cases, which health officials suspect might be linked to the heavy rains that have unleashed millions of spores. The island, with a population of 4 million, already has 2.5 times the death rate stemming from asthma as the mainland. Nearly 30 per cent of children in Puerto Rico are diagnosed with asthma, and the rate increases to 40 per cent among kids in public housing projects. (more)

Stressed cows in Puerto Rico give less milk, force imports
28 October 2009 - Happy cows apparently do not come from this US Caribbean territory. For the first time in a decade, officials are importing fresh milk from the United States because high temperatures have stressed the island's cows and production has dropped, Agriculture Secretary Javier Rivera said Tuesday. About 1 million litres (260,000 gallons) of milk have been shipped from Florida since early October, said Mr Rivera, who assured consumers that prices have remained the same. Part of the problem also lies with farmers who have not rotated cows -- allowing a certain portion to rest -- to maintain optimum production, he explained. (more)


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