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Puerto Rico and its Energy Agenda

The State, responsibility and citizenship

Our island is now in the middle of a crucial moment in where the transition to alternative energy sources is a mandatory reality. Is for this situation that Puerto Rico have to be able to take the correct steps to advance a long term energy agenda and to be efficient in examine how the decision making process about energetic development have been during the last three decade. We are clear that our principal goal is to achieve energy sustainability. But, is this current vertical system capable to develop a new energetic agenda where the different aspects, that involved each of these projects, to be implemented, are considerate in an inclusive and democratic form? There are many definitions of sustainable development but the more righteousness of them is provided by the World Commission in Environment and Development: "A process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations". (Assembly) If we based in this definition, the harmony between the parts is an ideal that have to be achieved. Is in this way that Puerto Rico government have to develop a more resourceful system in were the decision making process shift to one more inclusive in the comprehension of the plurality of social, economic, and ambient aspects that each project involve (Garcia and Lugo). Its for this, that the responsibility must be shared to complete a successful deliberation procedure. Our government is giving the optimal steps on recognizing the necessity of a shift in

our energetic system; but the structure that presides is reluctant to accept new methods to leave aside the modus operandi of forty years ago. Puerto Rico has showed its potential to be a pioneer island in the Caribbean and model to the world. We must note that the last years our government has taken effective steps to move forward to oil independence through new eco-friendly energy sources. But this progress has to be more conscious about the effect and repercussions of a shortage of an updated design of an integrative policy in the process of decision making. The State cannot afford have a lack of transparency on the decision making process, for the reason that at the end the citizenship will not rely on the legitimacy and sovereignty of the process and would mark a gap between the sectors involved in the project; also the sense of sustainability itself will be erode. The government must envision the design of a new energetic policy that guaranteed the shared responsibility of the citizenship in the decision process about energetic development, where the ethical, social and ecological repercussions were attended in concord to the specific elements involve in each energetic project. This new energetic policy must leave behind the vertical coordination and turn to a communitarianism vision that aim to a more coherent sense of common good. The government also can aspire to liberalize the energy initiatives and adopt community and entities projects offering and giving technological resources. In this perspective the citizenship can evolve to self-government and achieve they own social spaces empowered. This gradually would transfer the ethical obligation with the environment to the citizens, which tends to be less involved by the excluding current system and the low flow of information. The challenges now facing adaptive ways of dealing with novelty and uncertainty are not scientific or methodological, but institutional, organizational, behavioral, and political.- C.S Holling (Westley)

Assembly, United Nation General. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. New York: ONU, 1987. Garcia, Dr. Cecilio Ortiz and Dra. Marla Perez Lugo. "De Agendas, Alternativas y Politicas Publicas." Energia Sostenible: Antologias de Lecturas del Instituto Tropical de Energia y Sociedad (2008): 40-46. Harris, Jonathan M. "Sustainability and Sustainable Development." Internet Encyclopaedia of Ecological Economics (2003). Lugo, Dra. Marla Perez. "Energia Renovable Sostenible: Un Gran Reto para Puerto Rico." Energia Sostenible: Antologias de Lecturas del Instituto Tropical de Energia y Sociedad (2008): 56-57. Westley, Professor Frances. "Tipping Towards Sustainability." 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium. Stockholm.: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, 2011.