Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló are currently in talks about deploying utility-scale battery systems along with solar capacity to rebuild the island’s power grid, which was decimated last month by Hurricane Maria.
The nearly Category 5 storm made landfall on September 20, razing the US territory’s infrastructure, including its entire electrical grid. Weeks later, only about 11% of the power has returned, the governor’s office told PBS NewsHour. Earther.com writer Brian Kahn called the hurricane a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to rethink how Puerto Rico gets electricity.
Musk and Rosselló initially connected through Twitter last week when the Tesla head executive was asked directly about rebuilding the island’s electricity system with independent solar and battery systems.
On October 5, Musk tweeted:
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.
Let’s talk. Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project.
The tweets were followed by a productive 25-minute phone conversation on Friday, USA Today reported. “I told him because of the devastation, if there is a silver lining, we can start re-conceptualizing how we want to produce energy here in Puerto Rico and distribute it and do it in a more reliable fashion,” Rosselló said in an interview with the outlet.
Tesla Powerpacks are designed for utility and business energy storage. They each contain 16 battery pods are infinitely scalable and include applications for demand response, emergency backup power, peak shaving, and load shifting, according to the company.
Musk tweeted that he will be delaying the introduction of Tesla’s new semi-truck and diverting resources in order to increase battery production for Puerto Rico. Currently Musk is racing the clock to deliver a functioning 100-megawatt battery facility to South Australia within 100 days. The area has been susceptible to weather-related blackouts.