News and Events

Louis Berger Goes Beyond Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico to Enable a Renewable Future

As a multi-disciplinary engineering and infrastructure firm, Louis Berger has been involved in some of the most notable building projects around the world. Their projects range from architecture to operations and maintenance, and that scope allows the company to provide clients with a whole lifecycle of capability. It has also put them in a unique position to aid in response efforts for disasters and emergency situations, although these efforts are as much about creating opportunities for the future as they are restoring the present.

In addition to the Give Back Campaign that recently saw the company present a contribution of $60,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Louis Berger has been on the ground in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to deliver and install more than 917 emergency generators with more than 873 people supporting emergency power missions. It’s the kind of support the company is in a unique position to provide and offer, although it requires a different application of their skillsets and resources.

 “Conventional engineering and infrastructure work is very driven by things like procedure and permitting, while planning can be a painstaking process that can take years or even decades,” Tom Lewis, Louis Berger’s U.S. division president, told AEC Next News. “These kinds of response and recovery efforts require us to apply all of the same skillsets we’d use for a traditional project, but without all the planning and permitting. There’s no time for any of that in the first few days and weeks after a disaster where speed literally means saving lives and preventing further damage. So we’re using some of the same skillsets, but in a much more high-pressure, fast-paced kind of environment.”

That kind of high-pressure environment is the one that Lewis and his team found in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island. Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s power grid and caused what some have calculated as over 100 billion dollars in damage, much of which goes beyond that scope of what can be done in an emergency situation. That’s why Louis Berger is now participating in the transition from emergency response to a long-term recovery and building back better in Puerto Rico. Their efforts in doing so are not focused on a particular solutions or approach though.

“There are almost always multiple solutions to a given infrastructure challenge, rather than just one way to go,” Lewis continued. “Just like people have many tools in their tool box for doing different jobs around their homes, the different places and situations here in Puerto Rico demand different and more modern technologies to build back better and more sustainably and resiliently.”

The unprecedented nature of the disaster underscores the monumental efforts that Louis Berger is making on the island, especially since the company is working to see Puerto Rico recover in a way that makes it less vulnerable to these types of events in the future. These recovery efforts aren’t about building back a more modern version of what was there before. Microgrids, solar hybrid renewables and even solar hybrid mobile generators are being utilized in these recovery efforts, which means what’s happening in Puerto Rico could expand across the island and beyond in a powerful manner.

“We’re looking to demonstrate this kind of integrated, renewable technology in the hopes that we can get stakeholders to deploy it to a higher degree on Puerto Rico,” Lewis said. “Beyond that, we look at it as a way to demonstrate our capability as well as the technology itself for application on the mainland in the United States and around the world. We’re very excited about it, and in fact we believe in it so much that we’re looking at deploying some of this technology in a few small test cases on our own.”

One of those test cases is a pro bono demonstration project to provide solar-hybrid and microgrid solutions to La Perla de Gran Percio in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. As part of the aforementioned “Give Back” program, this distributed model is set to supplement Puerto Rico’s power needs through the application of solar-hybrid and micro grid technologies. The objective of the project, implemented at no cost to local residents, is to demonstrate distributed, solar hybrid power technologies while restoring residents’ access to fundamental services that would otherwise not be available until the central power grid is fully restored.

In addition to improving the quality of life of the community, this pro bono project is part of an effort to raise public and private sector awareness of the benefits of cleaner, distributed, mobile and resilient energy solutions. Especially in storm-prone communities, distributed power generation provides many advantages over reliance on a centralized grid alone. On a practical level, this approach will provide an additional layer of resilience in the event of a future storm, which will help the island become less susceptible to catastrophic events.

It’s exciting to consider what that will mean for the present in Puerto Rico and for the future of this type of technology for communities all across the world.

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Louis Berger restores power to La Perla de Gran Precio in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, using mobile solar hybrid power technology

MORRISTOWN, N. J., Jan. 29, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Louis Berger, a global infrastructure engineering and development firm, together with the municipality of Bayamón, Puerto Rico, hosted a special event on January 26 celebrating the launch of a pro bono project to restore power to Hogar El Pequeño Joshua, a shelter for children and to La Perla de Gran Precio, a shelter for women in the rural mountain village of Barrio Nuevo.

Louis Berger has been working in cooperation with the government of Puerto Rico to identify and assess communities with extended power outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. In a joint effort to evaluate and promote more sustainable and resilient infrastructure solutions in Puerto Rico, Louis Berger and its partners – WestGen and AEG, along with the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University – identified the foundation La Perla de Gran Precio, which helps women and children in need as the ideal community to benefit from a pro bono power technology demonstration project.

“We embrace this opportunity to ease the daily life of these women and children, and to help support a renowned foundation that’s been conducting meritorious social work for the past 17 years, while also demonstrating new power solutions for Puerto Rico,” said Tom Lewis, Louis Berger U.S. division president. “The La Perla de Gran Precio project is a part of Louis Berger’s corporate social responsibility program, which is committed to serving and giving back to communities where our employees and clients live and work.”

The objective of the project, implemented at no cost to local residents, is to demonstrate distributed, solar hybrid power technologies while restoring residents’ access to fundamental services that would otherwise not be available until the central power grid is fully restored. As part of Louis Berger’s continuing commitment, the second phase of the project will be to provide a larger capacity solar hybrid microgrid that can provide power to more buildings in the compound.

In addition to improving the quality of life of the community, this pro bono project is part of an effort to raise public and private sector awareness of the benefits of cleaner, distributed, mobile and resilient energy solutions. Especially in storm-prone communities, distributed power generation provides many advantages over reliance on a centralized grid alone. The project will continue until the central power grid is fully restored.

About Louis Berger

Louis Berger is a global professional services corporation that helps infrastructure and development clients solve their most complex challenges. We are a trusted partner to national, state and local government agencies; multilateral institutions; and commercial industry clients worldwide. By focusing on client needs to deliver quality, safe, financially-successful projects with integrity, we are committed to deliver on our promise to provide Solutions for a better world.

Louis Berger operates on every habitable continent. We have a long-standing presence in more than 50 nations, represented by the multidisciplinary expertise of 6,000 engineers, economists, scientists, managers and planners.

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Mayor Carvalho attends U.S. Conference of Mayors 86th Winter Meeting

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to participate in the U.S. Conference of Mayors 86th Winter Meeting. In addition, the Mayor met with federal agencies and the Congressional delegation to discuss priorities for the County of Kaua‘i. 

The 86th Winter Meeting, hosted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, included over 250 mayors from across the nation. Mayor Carvalho participated in many working group sessions on topics such as: Homelessness: Strategies that Work in Reducing Chronic and Veteran Homelessness; Equity: Economic Inclusion and Civil Rights; Energy: Powering Smart Cities through New Energy Technologies and Partnerships; Housing: Local Solutions to Affordable Housing; Building Resilient Cities: Preparing for Disasters and More; Climate Change: Today’s Leadership Confronting Tomorrow’s Challenges; Immigration: Responding to Current Challenges; and Infrastructure: Investing Locally to Grow Nationally.

In addition to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Carvalho attended meetings promoting the goals for the County outlined in Holo Holo 2020, which is aimed at enhancing the economy, increasing sustainability, planning for the island’s future, caring for the community, and delivering excellent customer service. 

The Mayor met with the United States Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration and International Trade Administration regarding the Americas Competitive Exchange (ACE) program, which brings together decision-makers from throughout the Western Hemisphere and other nations to explore global and regional partnerships and economic development opportunities that will strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.

Furthermore, the Mayor met with the Congressional delegation to update them on the success of the County’s priorities outlined in Holo Holo 2020, and to thank them and their staff for their continued support and dedication to the County of Kaua‘i.  He also met with Rear Admiral Jon A. Hill, Deputy Director of the Missile Defense Agency, and was briefed on their capabilities against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight. Additionally, the Navy briefed the Mayor on the significance of the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua‘i and the critical role it plays in testing and training, which it must continue to perform for the protection and defense of Hawai‘i and the entire United States.

The week was an opportunity for the Mayor to discuss important issues for the County of Kaua’i with mayors from across the nation. Mayor Carvalho looks forward to following up with them, as well as the various federal agency representatives who participated in the conference – the Department of Commerce and the Hawai‘i Congressional delegation – to continue to achieve the priorities and goals for the county. 

Pictured above: Mayor Carvalho meets with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's staff

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