Application process for qualifications begins for thermal ocean energy project in Yabucoa

Application process for qualifications begins for thermal ocean energy project in Yabucoa

Following the Puerto Rico Ocean Technology Complex (PROTech) master plan development presentation, Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, by its Spanish acronym) and the Puerto Rico Land Administration (PRLA), announced the publishing of the Request for Qualifications (known as "RFQ") to identify potential adequate candidates for the development of this project in Yabucoa.

"PROTech is an all-encompassing and innovative project that will use water from the Yabucoa coast and the energy it produces to develop multiple eco-friendly and scientific research projects in the southeastern area of Puerto Rico. Those interested in presenting their development plans should be highly qualified entities with experience and the ability to design, build, finance, operate and maintain this vanguard project. Since 2017, we have worked hard to build PROTech's master plan, which will be a starting point to invest in ocean-related industry efforts and create the technologies needed for the transition of conventional energy and fuels, to more responsible and sustainable energy alternatives," explained Laboy Rivera.

PROTech's proposal calls for the development of facilities for the conversion of thermal ocean energy, the development of ocean deep-sea industries, a education and research institute, a recreational, cultural and commercial center, as well as a hospital institution, among others. All of these projects will benefit from the energy output of the project.

PRLA’s executive director, Dalcia Lebrón Nieves mentioned that "this innovative concept that will be the first in the Caribbean and the third in the world, has a master plan that respects nature and promotes eco-environmental initiatives, in accordance with the Administration guidelines. The selected ground area in Yabucoa, is available for the development of this important project that conceptualizes PROTech. We will continue to work as a team with the DDEC, other government agencies, as well as with the private sector so that this project begins as soon as possible for the benefit of all Puerto Ricans."

The secretary of the DDEC stated that the municipality of Yabucoa was selected, since it has the necessary characteristics to develop a project of this scope. In addition, he noted that for the development of PROTech’s master plan, a similar project existing in Hawaii was used as a reference. Based on this model, Technical Consulting, Estudios Técnicos, Makai Engineering and Integra, conducted a feasibility study. It is estimated that for construction in its entirety, approximately $300 million will be needed.

"Under Governor’s Wanda Vázquez Garced administration, we have implemented various initiatives in accordance with the Public Policy Act of Puerto Rico, which establishes the need to comply with a Renewable Energy Portfolio to reach a minimum of 40 percent renewable energy by or before 2025; 60 percent in or before 2040; 100 percent by or before 2050. This project is very important to achieve these long-term goals", said Laboy Rivera.

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