Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce to Hold Forum to Analyze State of Energy, Water and Telecommunications Infrastructure
San Juan, PR-A year after the creation of a team to modernize and recover the island’s electrical grid by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (PRCC) will discuss the state of the island’s energy, water and telecommunications infrastructure, as well as its economic implications. The event will take place on November 30, 2023 at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in San Juan, in conjunction with the Association of General Contractors of America, Puerto Rico chapter.
“Issues related to energy, telecommunications and water infrastructure have traditionally been discussed separately. However, each of them is of vital importance for the private sector and economic development. Discussing them together allows us to analyze the problems that hinder each sector and promote serious discussion of potential solutions,” said Lcdo. Ramon Perez Blanco, president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and president of Fulcro Insurance, Inc.
The infrastructure forum’s agenda covers topics such as the 2024 and 2030 goals for the energy system and their impact on competitiveness, water infrastructure challenges, and an update on the use of funds from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. The latter has earmarked $42 billion for the expansion of high-speed internet access through planning, construction of telecommunications infrastructure and its adoption in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.
In December 2022, the U.S. Congress approved the allocation of $1 billion to improve the resilience of Puerto Rico’s electric grid, with a focus on disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, one of the projects led by the Department of Energy’s Modernization and Recovery Team. Precisely, the keynote speaker Lcdo. Agustín F. Carbó-Lugo, director of the Modernization and Recovery Team, will provide an update on the work during the forum.
Pérez Blanco highlighted the importance of water infrastructure conditions in the face of the effects of climate change. “Recently, we have experienced first-hand the detrimental effect of flash floods caused by heavy rains, combined with the obsolescence of sewerage and drinking water systems, as well as poor planning, on the economic activity of the metropolitan area,” said the business leader.
Guest speakers at the event also include Gustavo Velez, economist and founder of Inteligencia Económica, Inc.; Eng. Manuel A. J. Laboy, Executive Director of COR3; Eng. and Mr. Edison Avilés Deliz, commissioner president of the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau; Francisco Berríos Portela, Assistant Secretary of the Government for Energy Affairs; Mr. Juan Saca, President & CEO of LUMA Energy Puerto Rico; Mr. Iván Báez, Vice President of Government Affairs and Publicity of Genera PR; Eng. Carl Soderberg, former director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Eng. Doriel Pagán Crespo, President, Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority; Hon. Anaís Rodríguez Vega, Secretary of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources; Mr. Carlos Trigueros, Chief Operating Officer of Coca-Cola Puerto Rico Bottlers; Mr. Enrique Völckers Nin, Assistant Secretary for Innovation, Information, Data and Technology; Mr. Naji Khoury, President & CEO of Liberty Puerto Rico; Mr. Enrique Ortiz de Montellano, President & CEO of Claro Puerto Rico.
Those interested in learning more about the CCPR Infrastructure Forum can contact (787) 721-6060. You can also register to attend through the CCPR website in www.camarapr.org.
Karen Garnik, APR