Tesla's Elon Musk offers to rebuild Puerto Rico's electric grid, governor says "let's...

By William Gayde ยท 13 replies
Oct 6, 2017
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  1. After Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and obliterated its power grid, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has expressed interest in helping to rebuild the island's infrastructure. Given the lackluster and poorly received relief efforts by the president and US government, this has the potential to be Tesla's flagship project if they go through with it. As of publishing, only 10% of Puerto Ricans have power. After a Twitter user posed the question of rebuilding the grid with solar and battery technology, Musk tweeted a promising response expressing Tesla's interest in the project.

    Thursday evening, Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico, responded to the request saying "let's tallk."

    Early Friday morning Musk tweeted back saying that he would be "happy to talk." With such enthusiasm from both sides, it's clear that this could be a serious project and not just another of Musk's dreams.

    The biggest hurdle to overcome is of course funding. Puerto Rico has struggled with massive amounts of debt recently and it's not clear who would be willing or even able pay for the project. Upgrading existing infrastructure to solar is more expensive in the short term, but building a solar grid from the ground up has similar or lower costs than building new coal or gas power plants.

    Puerto Rico has a population of over 3 million people which would put the project on a scale never seen before. Tesla recently won a project in South Australia to power 30,000 homes with a 100MW facility. Puerto Rico's plan could be 100 times larger.

    Permalink to story.

  2. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,746   +1,310

    Interesting. Maybe Musk is good for something?
  3. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,972   +1,397

    They'll need a lot $$ to make it happen.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,280

    Tesla certainly has the financial muscle to help. I'd be happy if Musk and the governor could work something out.
    MaXtor, DaveBG and dms96960 like this.
  5. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 495   +260

    Boom! take that Trump.

    Tesla offering to build a power plant and restore power to all of PR while Trump is shooting bricks with paper towel rolls. SMDH
    wiyosaya and Godel like this.
  6. Elon doesn't seem to be the donating kind if that's what you mean. At least not in huge amounts. Still, if they could do it and find a way to prevent catastrophic failure in the event of another hurricane for example, that would be excellent would it not?

    Speaking of funding, SOMEONE has the money to give. We've got more billionaires living amongst us in 2017 then chicken mcnuggets in a $5 McDonalds Chicken McNugget meal (I couldn't think of anything else lol)
    wiyosaya, Skidmarksdeluxe and Reehahs like this.
  7. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,999   +1,301

    Why waste an opportunity to take a shot at Trump, right? As if there is some Federal Electrical Department that isn't doing what there supposed to right now.

    Or maybe Puerto Rico has no power and if someone offers to provide it the answer is obviously yes. Who pays for it is another question because Tesla has already borrowed every dime someone will lend them to build their cars.

    Unless someone actually benefits from this, it's nothing more than a popularity stunt.
    dms96960 and psycros like this.
  8. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,105   +2,597

    This could be to electrical grids what cell phones have done to telecommunications. Possible lower over all operating costs but they need to take a serious look at the O&M since that is where the highest costs over time are ......
  9. DaveBG

    DaveBG TS Maniac Posts: 342   +116

    This man is literally changing the world one battery at a time.
  10. Godel

    Godel TS Booster Posts: 109   +47

    While I've no objection to installing lots of PV and batteries, what they really need is small modern nuclear generators.

    BTW, are their current power problems related mostly to generation or distribution? There's no use having all the power generation in the world if the transmission lines across the island and to premises are wiped out.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,721   +3,143

    Well, Puerto Rico means "rich port", perhaps Musk has taken it too literally. In any event, I doubt Musk realizes any "government subsidies", would have to come from the US mainland government. (Hm, or maybe he does).

    Then too, there's the whole thing about Puerto Rico's reluctance to accept statehood, because then they'd be liable for federal income taxes.

    And yet they, whimper, and demand our help when disaster strikes.All the while, wondering why those pesky ships are slow getting there.

    Musk owes Panasonic a couple of billion dollars for his battery factory, which, (Ido believe), isn't running anywhere near Musk's sales pitch for demand.

    Just a couple of points, lest anyone start thinking that douche bag is a "humanitarian".
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  12. Mike Cubic

    Mike Cubic TS Rookie

    "Tesla recently won a project in South Australia to power 30,000 homes with a 100MW facility. Puerto Rico's plan could be 100 times larger"

    Meaning that it would take 10,000MWp I.e. 10GWp of PV power and a 10GWh Battery backup.

    10 GWp would require 200,000 Ha of flat land at a cost of roughly $1 per Wp (very conservative) x 10,000,000,000 Watts = $10,000,000,000 which would exclude upgrades to transmission/distribution lines.

    Would be amazing if they did manage to pull it off, it would be the largest PV plant in the world, current largest is only half a gigawatt
    wiyosaya likes this.
  13. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 377   +251

    Riddle me this batman... let's say they install a bunch of solar panels. What happens when the next hurricane strikes and all the solar panels turn fly off into the ocean?

    Is there any way to make solar panels hurricane proof? Or would they just have to rebuild their entire solar array every time a big storm comes?
    Mike Cubic likes this.
  14. Mike Cubic

    Mike Cubic TS Rookie

    Fair dinkum reply, an article based on hurricane sandy might solve your query


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