Musk Wants to Electrify Puerto Rico
Just a short hit of potentially good news. After the emergency response comes the rebuilding.
Islands usually get their electricity from diesel (bunker diesel if memory serves, the cheapest and dirtiest grade) generators. Solar is a much better option, and once installed they no longer need to buy and import that fuel.
The obvious question is how to pay for it. A less obvious question is how to harden it against powerful storms. Still, it's a start.
The Tesla CEO tweeted Thursday that his company is capable of rebuilding Puerto Rico’s power grid, much of which was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, to run on solar power and batteries.
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
Ricardo Rosselló is the Governor of Puerto Rico
@elonMusk Let’s talk. Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project.
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) October 6, 2017
I fully understand that it's a long way from a couple of tweets to a 21st century electrical infrastructure. Still, it's an improvement over throwing paper towels in a photo op.
Even if the core components are manufactured on the mainland (and at what point would it make economic sense to manufacture them on the island?), the installation would be a huge jobs engine. This would encourage young people to remain on the island, and cycle money through local businesses.
The Jones Act would act against establishing any significant manufacturing on the island, but I don't see any reason whole shiploads of raw materials couldn't be delivered directly to San Juan, upgrading the port if necessary. American ships could transport finished batteries to Miami.