During our Oct. 22 to Oct. 27 visit, we stayed in Old San Juan and toured a number of coastal towns, the Bacardi Factory, the Arecibo Observatory, El Yunque National Forest, and El Morro Fort. Each of these visits had a clean energy component. Below are some of the more notable ones.
|My mom posing in front of the 1960s conceptual bat pavilion with one |
of the wind turbines looming in the background
The Bacardi Factory had two wind turbines owned and maintained by Aspenall Energies (Powertechnology.com). You can see easily see the wind turbines from Old San Juan. However, the tour was a bit expensive and I wouldn't recommend it unless you're able to trick other visitors out of their drink tokens. The drinks weren't bad. I had a Bacardi Sunrise and my mom had the Daiquiri.
|Smaller buildings might follow the solar trend of larger building in |
Old San Juan. The orange star is our hotel, El Convento.
|Solar panel on top with the |
480 year-old Fort behind
NPS collaborates a lot with the Energy Department and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). These solar golf carts fall in line with number of other clean energy NPS initiatives including solar panels on Alcatraz, energy-efficient buildings in Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks, and Hybrid vehicles in the Tetons (NREL.gov). Puerto Rico, like the 50 states, visibly benefits from these US Government services. As much and as right as we are to complain about government waste and inefficiencies, we should not be blind to the positive impact these can have on our parks, cities, and overall population.
One thing that struck me most during this vacation was the contrast between Puerto Rico, a US territory and the neighboring country of the Dominican Republic. Although the islands are merely 70 miles apart and majority Spanish-speaking, here are some of the problems I noticed in the DR and didn't see in Puerto Rico: piles of litter and trash in the streets, a pronounced gap between the rich and the poor that manifested itself in constant and aggressive begging, and frequent power outages. I believe these issues point not just to a difference in culture, but a difference in governance.
I'm excited to have a third Caribbean territory to add to my cultural and clean energy considerations--Cuba. My Vittoria Energy Expedition teammates and I are in the final stages of planning Expedition Cuba. We built the boat over the course of the summer and fall, provided dozens of groups with tours of our clean energy vessel, built @vittoriaenergy up a social media, and mapped out our route. Although Cuba is in the same Caribbean neighborhood and I've studied its energy situation extensively, I believe my expedition there will be the most eye-opening and educational.