Elon Musk Offers To Rebuild Puerto Rico's Energy Infrastructure
Puerto Rico is looking for answers to its devastating blackouts and leveled energy infrastructure.
And Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), the world’s panacea, is as eager as ever to be the solution.
CEO Elon Musk responded Thursday to calls for intervention by confirming Tesla’s capacity to meet the island’s needs with sustainable energy sources. The firm already powers Ta’u with solar projects and is working on a lithium ion battery to power South Australia.
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
Considering Puerto Rico’s long-standing energy crisis, the community may be open to discussion.
“This is an opportunity to completely transform the way electricity is generated in Puerto Rico, and the federal government should support this,” Judith Enck, the former Environmental Protection Agency for Region 2 administrator, told Earther. “They need a clean energy renewables plan and not spending hurricane money propping up the old fossil fuel infrastructure.”
Puerto Rico has long been reliant on oil, coal and natural gas. Last year, oil accounted for 47 percent of the island’s energy, and renewable sources supplied just 2 percent. Coal and natural gas comprised the rest. The petroleum dependence is notably expensive and drove the local electricity service, PREPA, to bankruptcy in July.
“In that time of extreme petroleum prices, the utility was borrowing money and buying oil in order to keep those plants operating,” Luis Martinez, an attorney at Natural Resources Defense Council and former special aide to the president of Puerto Rico’s Environmental Quality Board, told Earther. “That precipitated the bankruptcy that followed. It was in pretty poor shape before the storm. Once the storm got there, it finished the job.”
The hurricane wiped out power grids across the island, but the sturdy infrastructure of one solar farm withstood the Category 5 winds.
In the literal light of this prevailing project, Puerto Rico and Tesla might find common inspiration.
Image Credit: By U.S. Customs and Border Protection - CBP Conducts Search and Rescue in Mountains of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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