New PREPA director nominated

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Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez nominated Efran Paredes Maisonet to be the new executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on Friday.

The governor made the nomination to the authority’s board of directors, which normally approves the governor’s nomination.

PREPA power plant in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico

Paredes Maisonet has been serving as interim executive director since José Ortiz resigned as executive director on August 3.

PREPA is three years into the bankruptcy process for its $9 billion of debt. Puerto Rico bankruptcy Judge Laura Taylor Swain has put on hold a motion to approve a proposed debt deal.

“I am confident that the extensive experience and commitment of the engineer Paredes Maisonet will contribute significantly to the success of this important entity for the benefit of the public service and the people of Puerto Rico,” Vázquez said.

Paredes Maisonet has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico. From 2009 to 2012 he served as energy and environmental advisor to then Gov. Luis Fortuño. He is currently director of planning and environmental protection at PREPA.

In other PREPA news, on Aug. 24 the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau approved an Integrated Resource Plan guiding the authority’s future.

In general, the plan directs the authority to rely less on fossil fuel electric generation and more on solar panels.

Specifically, the bureau rejects the authority’s plan to create 400 megawatts of fossil fuel peaking generation capacity, with the caveat that it could replace a “small portion of older gas turbine resources,” possibly with new fossil fuel-generating capacity.

It directs the authority to start creating solar panels and battery storage capacity for the solar resources. It says the bureau will begin proceedings this fall to examine how best to create “minigrids” of electrical resources on the island.

The bureau directs the authority to phase out use of the oldest and most expensive of its oil-based generators when this becomes feasible.

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