Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

May 2011: The Energy Crisis in Perspective

An evaluation of Via Verde and the government’s energy policy

Soaring oil prices and six years of economic recession are prompting the government to take swift actions to reduce the country’s dependency on oil-fueled electricity. At the center of its strategy lies the construction of the highly controversial “Via Verde”, a 92 mile gas pipeline running northbound across the Island to supply natural gas to power plants in the north region. The government argues that the pipeline is the best short-term solution to reduce the cost of electricity. Opponents are concerned about the safety hazards; permanent environmental impact and many are skeptic about the savings that could actually be accomplished and whether it is the best alternative available. As the different groups debate, in this issue we provide an objective evaluation of Via Verde and the government’s energy policy.