Heinrich Questions Officials On Hurricane Recovery Efforts In Puerto Rico And U.S. Virgin Islands

Says more must be done to develop resilient and modern power grid, examine critical infrastructure for better disaster planning

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) questioned key officials today during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The hearing included testimony from Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp, representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority, and Puerto Rico Energy Commission.

During Senator Heinrich’s questioning, Puerto Rico Governor Rosselló outlined the opportunity to not just restore, but also modernize the island’s power grid to incorporate technologies like microgrids, renewable energy, and distributed energy resources. 

Senator Heinrich recently cosponsored the Rebuilding Resilient Energy Systems Act to ensure federal disaster funding can be used to build more resilient, efficient, clean, and low-cost energy systems. The bill targets critical infrastructure and directs the Department of Energy’s national labs to provide assistance in rebuilding efforts. Senator Heinrich has called on the Trump Administration to utilize the expertise and programs at New Mexico’s national labs like Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories to evaluate Puerto Rico’s electrical grid needs, develop a more resilient and modern power grid, and examine its other critical infrastructure for better disaster planning.    

Testimony, a list of witnesses, and the entire webcast of today's hearing will be available here.