Case #2229.0

Casa Pueblo: Community-Based Electricity Resilience in Puerto Rico

Publication Date: March 28, 2022
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Category 5 Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 ravaging the Island. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority reported that all customers were without power unless they had their own generators. However, in the mountain town of Adjuntas, the community center did have electricity powered by rooftop solar panels. Years earlier the community realized the risks of the national electricity grid and created a local electricity generation capacity. Maria proved the wisdom of their actions as residents were able to charge medical equipment, keep medications refrigerated, and charge their cellphones.

This case explores the strengths and limitations of two electricity supply chain approaches, a national electricity grid versus local power generation. A focus on the importance of infrastructure resilience frames the discussion. The case also explore the community capacity building needed for local power generation resilience.

Learning Objective:
1. “Long/centralized” supply chains are generally more efficient than “short/distributed” chains, but less resilient.
2. Resilience consists of absorption, adaption, and restoration; nature will always beat stronger infrastructure.
3. The economics over a lifetime are not obvious.
4. Community-based resilience is the most beneficial and effective.
5. Continuous improvement improves the odds of resilience.


Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author(s):
Mark Fagan, Sophie Dover
Faculty Lead:
Mark Fagan
United States