Puerto Rico. An entire country devastated by one natural disaster. The power grids are down. Infrastructure is incapacitated. How on Earth do you rebuild after this? The answer is, you don’t: at least not a traditional power grid.What is truly frightening is that hurricane season isn’t over yet.
This is a terrible tragedy. In the weeks following the fall of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, the NYC design/build community of professionals came together to help the city redesign the space. Neighborhoods divided when the Towers were built were reconnected. Energy efficiency, renewable energy and green space were major design considerations.
When a system is disrupted, as the energy grid was after Sandy landed in 2012, we have an opportunity to improve that system. New Jersey energy providers had an opportunity to create a decentralized system which would be more resilient. They could have considered what improvements would be necessary with increased sea levels. The investment of public dollars could have been used to rebuild electrical infrastructure with renewable energy!
Increasing the number of independent hot water and electric solar arrays would have increased resilience.
The damage is more severe in Puerto Rico.
This is the time to design social, natural and financial ecosystems which integrate stakeholder engagement, product lifecycle, socially just procurement, workforce training, community coordination, energy efficiency, edible landscapes & permaculture, waste management, and sustainable infrastructure. It is time to distribute power in all its forms equitably and inclusively, respectful of cultural and ethnic diversity.
Someone needs to support Puerto Rico in creating distributed renewable energy. Let’s listen to what the people of Puerto Rico need AND want. Let’s offer them support in creating a workforce of energy efficiency professionals, who can grow their own food, and create a sustainable economy, using public banking to fund it.
Yes, all the parts and pieces have to be brought there. People are focusing on clean-up, many are just trying to survive. We need to find the funding. The devastation is complete. These are not limitations, they are design considerations. We know how to do this!
This is not just a dream. We can make it happen! ¡Vamos a hacerlo! (Let’s do it!)