Tesla Might Build The Entire Power Grid In Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria
After two major hurricanes hit Puerto Rico, the island was left completely without electricity. Over 97% of its power grid was destroyed by the violent storms. What’s more, the American government was highly ineffective in dealing with the situation, and people’s lives were, and still are in danger. No electricity means no access to clean water and proper medical facilities.
In order to assist with the situation, Tesla has sent several hundred of its Powerwall batteries to Puerto Rico, in order to bring back some of the power back to the island. These batteries were meant to act as a provisionary measure until the island’s power grid was put back into place. Unfortunately, however, the whole reparations are expected to take more than six months.
But looking at the silver lining of the situation, the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, said that they might rebuild the entire power grid from scratch, thus scaling up their battery and solar panel infrastructure to power the entire island state. Even before the hurricane hit, Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure wasn’t doing too great.
The bills were already too high, some US$0.20/kWh, most of it coming from fossil fuels. Things didn’t change after hurricane Maria hit either since they had to make due with gas-powered generators.
This is what Elon Musk wrote in a tweet:
The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too. Such a decision would be in the hands of the PR govt, PUC, any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of PR.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 5, 2017
Musk is referring here to a similar project Tesla has set up on the island of Kauai, as well as the American Samoa in the Pacific. Ricardo Rosselló, Puerto Rico’s governor, was really open to this idea:
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) October 6, 2017
But even if the island was to be completely powered by solar panels, it would still be vulnerable to similar other such natural disasters. Power would still need to go through a similar power grid and solar panels, as well as the batteries, can be destroyed by a hurricane. Nevertheless, if this were to be the case, and Puerto Rico were to be 100% powered by solar panels, the entire infrastructure would be spread out throughout the entirety of the island, thus reducing the risk of all of it being destroyed. Something along the lines of a “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket” approach, if you will.