This March, IGERT-affiliated faculty members Curt Griffin and Andy Danylchuk led a team of 12 IGERT graduate fallows on a weeklong educational expedition to Puerto Rico. As part of a course on the ecological impacts of wind development, the group conducted preliminary assessments of the potential to create new wind energy projects in the U.S. territory.
The team spent four days on Culebra, a small island and wildlife refuge off the east coast of Puerto Rico's main island. On Culebra, IGERT faculty and fellows learned about native plant and animal species, visited with officials from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and conducted surveys of local residents' attitudes about wind power.
The latter half of the trip was spent in San Juan, where the team met with additional government agencies and officials, including the executive director of Puerto Rico's newly-formed Administration of Energy Affairs (Administración de Asuntos Energéticos).
The group capped their visit to Puerto Rico with a presentation to potential private investors describing environmental, engineering and policy considerations and recommendations for future wind projects on the island.