Puerto Rico Debt Struggle Ties Back to Its Stunted Energy Economy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones for Bloomberg BNA:Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) demanded that Puerto Rico provide detailed financial statements by March 1 before the Senate Finance Committee, which he chairs, puts together a debt-restructuring mechanism for the island.Puerto Rico is in talks with creditors over the country’s distressed debt.A major source of the country’s debt problems comes from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the island’s sole energy provider, which owes about $9 billion to bondholders and other creditors. The utility is dependent on imported oil to generate electricity, for which it sometimes pays on the order of $100 per barrel, even as global oil prices have collapsed to a level below $30 a barrel.In a 2012 presentation, PREPA proposed a switch to liquefied natural gas (LNG), which would lead to $500 million to $1 billion in savings a year and avoid fines under the U.S. Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.But those calculations were based on the construction of the Via Verde gas pipeline and the Aguirre offshore terminal, neither of which has been completed. The Via Verde project was abandoned in 2012 over environmental concerns. The Aguirre project was initially approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in July 2015, but is under appeal following a request for additional details by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.In a 2015 report, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) sharply criticized the commonwealth’s sole focus on LNG, which it described as transitioning from one fossil fuel to another, even though the island is “blessed with abundant wind and solar energy.”The IEEFA report notes that any savings from a switch to LNG could easily be wiped out by a spike in LNG prices. According to IEEFA Director of Finance Tom Sanzillo, for the switch to make sense “essentially, LNG prices can’t be much higher than what they are right now, which is around $2-$3/Mcf.” One Mcf equals 1,000 cubic feet.“The island could easily be focusing more on solar, wind, and energy efficiency,” Sanzillo said. “All of which would bring more jobs and fuel the local economy, whereas LNG would only bring a handful.”Puerto Rico offers no incentives for energy efficiency. In 2011, only 1 percent of its electricity came from renewable sources.Full article: Hatch Demands Audited Financials From Puerto Rico
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16 Warril Drive, KurandaWITHIN an easy commute to Cairns, Kuranda is growing in popularity as an area homeowners can get their hands on a chunk of land close to all the natural splendour of one of the world’s most pristine tropical rainforests.Large and affordable lifestyle properties are hidden out of sight from the town’s bustling tourist attractions such as the Kuranda Scenic Railway and a sprawling market full of local delights.Kuranda has been attracting tourists for more than a century to marvel at the Barron Falls while at the same time, artists attracted to the region’s natural beauty decided to call it home, building the region’s reputation as a creative hub.Kuranda Real Estate sales agent Michael Dominikovic said the suburb would not diminish in popularity any time in the future.“There is still demand for acreage and pretty much everything up here is on acreage,” he said.“It is mainly a lot of people coming to buy here who want more space for themselves and their kids. The climate is fantastic and it is still close to Cairns and Smithfield and the beaches. More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days ago“The closeness to all the city amenities and the lifestyle is really what draws everyone here.”The localities of Koah and Speewah are just minutes away and also help sell the rural lifestyle so many are seeking.The rainforest around Kuranda has been home to the Djabugay people for more than 10,000 years. What is now known as Kuranda was first settled in 1885 by colonists. Construction of the railway from Cairns to Myola began in 1887 and the line reached Kuranda in 1891.Last year, a $650 million luxury resort and tourism facility near Kuranda, called KUR-World secured vital funding to start the first stage of construction.Hong Kong-based Sandalphon Privilege Financial Group backed the project which is to be set on 626ha of farmland at Myola.It will include a five-star 200-room resort, an 18-hole golf course, another three or four-star 270-room resort, retail and dining outlets, 380 residential villas, a tertiary education campus, and sports facilities.