A Look At The Scale Of Tesla’s Puerto Rico Electricity Solution

6 days ago by Steven Loveday 96

Can Tesla pull off a viable battery solution for Puerto Rico, and can the U.S. territory afford it?

There’s not a yes or no answer to the above question, and as we’re sure you can imagine, it’s not going to come cheap. Yes, it’s possible. No, powering the entire island in any reasonable amount of time is probably not a reality at this point. Yes, it will be a monstrous undertaking even if it’s only a partial solution. Yes, it’s probably the right thing to do. No, Puerto Rico can’t afford it, but perhaps they’ll get more assistance.

Tesla

Tesla Powerpacks and the grid (Image Credit: Tesla)

Puerto Rico is still without electricity following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Rebuilding is underway, but the territory has a long road ahead. Thus far, about 12 percent of the island is back online, but this number may only grow to 25 percent over the next month. The U.S. territory is suffering from huge debt and rebuilding may cost some $5 billion. So, the truth is, it may never fully recover, and even if it does, as soon as another storm rolls through Puerto Rico may be right back where it started.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, was asked via social media if his company may be able to get Puerto Rico back online with solar power and battery storage solutions. He replied:

“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.”

Teslarati put together a detailed, real-world estimate. Let’s take a quick look at how it all breaks down.

  • Puerto Rico population: 3.4 million
  • Annual energy consumption: 19 billion kWh (19 million MWh) or 5,310 kWh (5.2 MWh) per capita

To cover only 40 percent of PR’s needs, Tesla will need to install a 4,164 MW solar plant, which is 320 times as large as the one Tesla constructed in Kauai (13 MW solar farm). The grid in Ta’u is 1.4 MW. Based on SolarCity Q3 2016 installation costs, the PR grid would add up to about $8.32 billion.

Tesla Powerpacks

Tesla Powerpacks and microgrid on T’au island in American Samoa

What about batteries?

To support the above solar plant, the company would need a 5,000 MWh (5,000,000 kWh) battery system. To put this in perspective, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery project underway in Australia is a 129 MWh system. So, we’re talking nearly 40 times larger than that! Remember, this is just to power 40 percent of PR. At Tesla’s $250 per kWh, this is $1.25 billion in battery costs alone.

Digging even deeper shows that Tesla (SolarCity) installed 900 MWh in 2016 and 2,400 MWh in its history. Powering 40 percent of PR would require over double the company’s lifetime output.

All in all, PR is looking at just shy of $10 billion to cover this project, and this doesn’t include interest. This is double what it will cost PR to go about it the traditional way. Teslarati factors in a 20-year loan at 7 percent (under such terms PR will pay over $20 billion). Will it pay off?

Citizens of PR pay $.198 per kWh, which is more than double the U.S. average. The project would cut household kilowatt-hour costs to about $.112. It would also mean significantly increased stability and peace of mind for the future.

Will it ever happen? Let us know in the comments section or visit our new InsideEVs forum to spark the conversation.

Take a look at Tesla’s microgrid on T’au island in American Samoa:

Source: Teslarati

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97 responses to "A Look At The Scale Of Tesla’s Puerto Rico Electricity Solution"

  1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

    Working citizens from PR are just moving to mainland. Both PR government and electric utility were mismanaged into bankruptcy even before the hurricane.

    Now $10 billions for 40% of electricity supply without distribution network?? Maybe he would better do computer renderings of passenger rocket jumps from PR to Florida 😉 Oh well, FEMA doesn’t pay for it 🙁

  2. Bacardi says:

    The problem is, Tesla won’t do it for free, P.R. doesn’t have the money to do it, Trump just said today he needs to cut funding and wouldn’t willing pay a cent for a renewable project…I could actually see Trump offering a handout if they agreed to buy coal plants…

  3. buu says:

    if only authors of this blah blah understood that grid is more than panels and batteries…

    BTW generation in PR mostly ok, distribution network not so much…

    of course rebuilding some segments with solar and batteries could be more cost effective

  4. Dav8or says:

    PR should be talking to Bill Gates instead of Elon, so they could maybe could get what they really need, what we all need, the LFTR Molten Salt Reactor. Covering the whole island in PV solar panels is ridiculous.

    1. Notcovfefe says:

      This thread is full of Russian trolls/bots.

      P.R. is a territory of the United States of America. We have the money, and we will pay to rebuild P.R, just as we would pay to rebuild D.C.

      1. Dav8or says:

        Did I say otherwise?? I did not mean they should go ask Bill Gates fro money, they should ask him for help getting a LFTR Molten Salt Reactor built as a demonstrator there in PR. Bill Gates is a big proponent of this technology. It would be a great opportunity for both PR and nuclear power.

        No Russian bot, or troll here. Just somebody who sees the absurdity of covering a beautiful island with ugly PV solar panels in a fruitless effort to supply the island’s power needs. Yeah, put up a bunch of flat panels and wait for the next hurricane to turn them into kites. Not the greatest plan…

        1. Mark.ca says:

          How is covering a beautiful island with radioactive waste sound for you? Panels looking better now? I do get what you are saying, i would like to see a smaller scale solar farm and more panels on roofs to make up for the difference. Problem is now there are not that many roofs left either.

          1. Dav8or says:

            Do a little research into gen IV nuclear plants. The waste is not what it was/is at all. There is so much fear about modern nuclear power that it boggles my mind. It’s pretty much like saying- “Those electric cars they had back in 1900 pretty much sucked, so that’s it. No more electric cars!”

            1. sveno says:

              The US ought to really take care of the existing waste material before building new reactors.

              1. Dav8or says:

                That’s EXACTLY what these new type of reactors can do!! They turn a horrible liability into an asset! They can burn and consume nearly all the waste and make energy with it. The remaining waste has a half life of only 100-300 years as compared to 50,000 years and the quality is just a tiny fraction. There is enough stored waste that it could power all of the US by itself, no coal, no natural gas, no wind, no solar, no hydroelectric, no geothermal etc, needed for hundreds of years!

                1. Mark.ca says:

                  Yes, i know…they are just prototypes at this point so they will not be available any time soon. I don’t buy their exaggerated numbers either. Again, this will never be a green form of energy no matter how bind you pretend to be.

                  1. Dav8or says:

                    And these Tesla solar farms are pretty much prototypes too. What’s your point? Fool around some more with band aid fixes for our energy problems, or get back to where we should have been in the ’50s? Nuclear power IS the answer. Yes, just like the first Teslas, they are expensive, but get way cheaper faster as you go along.

                    1. Mark.ca says:

                      You mean the 20 year contract Kauai signed with T was for a prototype?…lol
                      Something good you’re smoking!

                  2. Jim J Fox says:

                    What you “buy” is totally irrelevant. Instead of ‘buying’, do some research as you desperately need it. LFTR’s will, like EV’s become reality faster than we think. Thorcon’s small modular reactor is going through final assessment by the Indonesian Nuclear Energy Authority, after exhaustive feasibility studies. From green light to production will be 4 years.

                    As it is designed to be built 30m underground I doubt a category 10 hurricane would have any effect.

              2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                The U.S. really ought to quick treating nuclear waste as a political football, and start actually recycling it and storing the remaining relatively small amount in stable glass blocks, as France does.

                But then, that would require taking a sensible and rational approach to nuclear power and radioactive materials, instead of the hysterical panicky one which the U.S. media promotes… and Big Oil encourages, since they don’t want cheap nuclear power providing cheap electricity to compete with Big Oil’s sales of heating oil (diesel #4), burned in furnaces in the Northeastern U.S.

                There are now truly failsafe nuclear reactor designs, and the only reason we’re not already building those is public hysteria and political opposition.

                http://www.nuscalepower.com/our-technology/technology-overview

                1. Mark.ca says:

                  No, that would require extra expenses added to the nuclear bottom line making another form of energy become more expensive than solar or wind…can’t have that.

                2. Another Euro point of view says:

                  I agree, moreover that would fix any shortage of electricity in case of the likely quick electrification of personal transport.

                3. Steven says:

                  Our problem is that we have too much FUD when it comes to technologies that the unwashed masses don’t understand.

        2. Steven says:

          You don’t have to “cover the island in solar panels”, just the roofs of the buildings.

    2. Shaun says:

      Bill Gates is known for backing the Traveling Wave Reactor, not the LFTR.

      1. Dav8or says:

        I stand corrected. You are correct. Gates is behind the Traveling Wave Reactor. It’s a great idea. Instead of building a prototype in China, we should be building it here and the folks in PR could use it right now!

        We as a country seem to love to help China get ahead of us. It’s like we secretly wish for our own defeat.

  5. Ron M says:

    The companies that operate in PR hotels, hospitals, airlines, pharmaceutical, restaurants, malls, can and should be the first to invest in roof top solar and battery storage.
    LFTR Molten Salt Reactor would cost billions and take 10 years to complete if they broke ground today.
    Also Japan has a prototype offshore wind turbine that can withstand typhoon winds that doesn’t have blades like a convention offshore wind turbine. I believe it’s installed and going through testing.

    1. Kdawg says:

      I think this video of it.

      1. Davek says:

        Hahahaha

      2. Notcovfefe says:

        If you played that for Trump he would think it was real.

        1. Steven says:

          He probably would.

      3. jm says:

        “First rule of Government acquisition: Why build one when you can have two at twice the price?”

        1. Steven says:

          Said S.R. Hadden.

      4. Steven says:

        As I remember, the first one they unveiled didn’t fair so well.

      5. Bill Howland says:

        Is that a GEN IV reactor? Or is that a new high-efficiency washing machine?

        If the latter, where do hang the clothes out to dry?

  6. JackDFW says:

    PR needs an all of the above solution.
    Wind powered Turbines on a island should be a big source of power ( no Trump golf courses to spoil views).
    Rooftop solar and batteries with backup generator could keep many in rural areas off grid.
    None of the solutions are cheap.

    1. jm says:

      It requires a NextEra with GS underwriting to do a $25B funding with a long term PPA for the entire island. Keep the current electricity costs as incentive and the profits will be Yuge enough to interest even Trumpy.

    2. JeremyK says:

      I agree. The wind turbines on PR survived the hurricane, which is impressive. Wind and solar are super cheap compared to where they were years ago. A mix of both should be in the rebuild effort as well as plans to bury some of those power lines in areas that are prone to high winds.

      Also – the article should be corrected. The average price of electricity in the US was about $0.12/kWh last time I checked. $0.198 is not “more than double” that value.

  7. David S. says:

    In 2016, 47% of Puerto Rico’s electricity came from petroleum, 34% from natural gas, 17% from coal, and 2% from renewable energy.
    Two wind farms supplied nearly half of Puerto Rico’s renewable generation in 2016; one of them, the 95-megawatt Santa Isabel facility, is the largest wind farm in the Caribbean.
    As of June 2017, Puerto Rico had 127 megawatts of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generating capacity and 88 megawatts of distributed (customer-sited, small-scale) capacity. In the first six months of 2017, more renewable electricity came from solar energy than any other source.
    https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=RQ

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      Santa Isabel won’t be supplying any MMegawatts for some time. The biggest solar farm was wiped out as well.

      1. philip d says:

        Where do you people get your news?

        From NPR:

        “Ruben Rivera of Pattern Energy drives around the company’s vast wind farm in Santa Isabel in the south of the island. He says his 44 wind turbines withstood Maria’s 180-mile-an-hour winds.”

        RUBEN RIVERA: You can see we have all turbines, all blades are intact and all the structures, the towers, the base.

        KAHN: We stop at one while workmen test the tower’s huge anchoring bolts. All checked out. Rivera just needs power from the authorities so he can fire up the turbines and again provide energy to more than 35,000 homes.

        RIVERA: We’re ready to go.

        Also: “The giant solar field built by Canadian Solar came out relatively unscathed after facing harsh winds from Irma and Maria. These panels are specifically designed to outlast hurricanes. Each panel is built several meters off the ground to avoid floods and reinforced to withstand winds of category 5 hurricanes”

        https://cleantechnica.com/2012/10/03/puerto-rico-solar-power-plant-built-to-withstand-hurricanes-deliver-power-reliably-in-all-types-of-weather/

        Point is wind farms and solar farms can be built to withstand hurricane force winds. Some of the older systems weren’t. Going forward with current building practices it isn’t a limitation.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          “Where do you people get your news?”
          Trump Tweeter feed…where else?! I thought we all agreed that is the only source of real news left.

  8. needa says:

    It baffles me that everyone is looking to Tesla for solar when the obvious option is to install wind. 24 hours power would negate the need for so many batteries. Thus alleviating supply for my dad gum car.

    1. Mark.ca says:

      There is no such thing as 24 hour continuous generation with wind. Wind is intermittent just like solar with a big difference…solar is much more predictable.

      1. needa says:

        Looking for ‘continuous’ in my comment. Nope. Not there. 24 hours meaning it can produce power at night also. Not that I should have to explain that to you in the first place.

        You can rest assured that there is enough offshore wind around Puerto Rico to turn a six megawatt turbine for twelve hours a day in the month with the least amount of wind. Which is this month.
        I’ll tell you another thing that you can predict.. eight months of rainy season. So extra panels and loads of extra batteries will have to be installed to compensate for loss of sunlight. Things that wouldn’t have to be done with wind.
        Perhaps a hybrid system would be best. I can say one thing for sure… going all solar is a stupid idea.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          All solar may not be perfect but not stupid. I do agree that they need wind and maybe tidal in combination with solar.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          needa said:

          “Looking for ‘continuous’ in my comment. Nope. Not there. 24 hours meaning it can produce power at night also. Not that I should have to explain that to you in the first place.”

          You needed to explain it to everyone, since you certainly implied that wind power is reliable 24/7, which is very far from the truth.

          As Mark.ca said, solar power is far more reliable. Wind power is nice if you want some auxiliary power, but there are very few places in the world where the wind blows steadily enough for it to be dependable. And only in those places should it be given construction priority.

          1. Mark.ca says:

            I guess by 24 hours some mean 24 hours a week not 24/7….live and learn.

  9. ffbj says:

    People are leaving in droves, you can’t live there. Whatever it looks like in the future it will have to be very different. Fewer people hardened infrastructure.

  10. F150 Brian says:

    Don’t hurricanes and solar farms go together like tornadoes and trailer parks?

    1. Ron M says:

      There’s alit of wind turbine in Oklahoma and Kansas Plus other areas that ae part of tornado alley

    2. mx says:

      The solar withstood the winds.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Newsies always like to focus in on scenes of destruction, ignoring the wide surrounding areas that aren’t devastated, because it’s more “dramatic”. Or, as the newsies themselves say: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

          I remember when my sister visited Mexico City shortly after the 1985 earthquake. You’d have thought from TV news coverage that most of the city’s buildings had collapsed. In reality, only about 1% of the area in the city showed significant damage, and the city was definitely “open for business” for tourism. Unfortunately the tourists were staying away in droves because of the exaggerated news reports of damage.

          Now, I’m not saying that Puerto Rico hasn’t been devastated. Reports are that most neighborhoods are without electricity, and far too many don’t have access to clean drinking water; when they talk about the percentage of people on the entire island, that’s not just focusing in on a few relatively small areas of destruction.

          But you can be sure the newsies are focusing in on those solar farms which were damaged, and ignoring the ones which withstood the hurricane.

    3. philip d says:

      “Ruben Rivera of Pattern Energy drives around the company’s vast wind farm in Santa Isabel in the south of the island. He says his 44 wind turbines withstood Maria’s 180-mile-an-hour winds.”

      RUBEN RIVERA: You can see we have all turbines, all blades are intact and all the structures, the towers, the base.

      KAHN: We stop at one while workmen test the tower’s huge anchoring bolts. All checked out. Rivera just needs power from the authorities so he can fire up the turbines and again provide energy to more than 35,000 homes.

      RIVERA: We’re ready to go.

      Also: “The giant solar field built by Canadian Solar came out relatively unscathed after facing harsh winds from Irma and Maria. These panels are specifically designed to outlast hurricanes. Each panel is built several meters off the ground to avoid floods and reinforced to withstand winds of category 5 hurricanes”

      https://cleantechnica.com/2012/10/03/puerto-rico-solar-power-plant-built-to-withstand-hurricanes-deliver-power-reliably-in-all-types-of-weather/

      Point is wind farms and solar farms can be built to withstand hurricane force winds. Some of the older systems weren’t. Going forward with current building practices it isn’t a limitation.

  11. mx says:

    1) Powerlines across mountains are expensive to replace.
    2) Round Homes, storm resistant Round Homes needed too.

    http://www.deltechomes.com

    Why isn’t Deltec CEO on the phone to PR???

  12. Dan says:

    I think these numbers completely ignore the geography of Puerto Rico and where the power will be needed. Surely most of the power that’s back up is in San Juan, and that where the grid will continue to be rebuilt. The issue is that there are a lot of small towns spread out along the coast all the way around the island and in the mountainous center of the island. The issue is rebuilding infrastructure to get power to these “islands” within the island of PR that is cost prohibitive. Tesla can use solar and Powerpacks in each of these smaller towns with microgrids which would eliminate the need for rebuilding the grid to these towns. The savings could conceivably (more or less) offset the cost of rebuilding the grid, if you leave San Juan out of the equation.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Economy of scale favors centralized power generation. That’s probably always going to be the case, no matter what technology is developed. Centralized power generation can much more easily deal with incremental increases in demand from local areas. If every area is isolated in its own micro-grid, then there’s going to be a potential problem with insufficient power every time one more house is built, or one more person buys a PEV which needs to be charged daily, or at least a couple of times a week.

      Whether Puerto Rico eventually winds up rebuilding its grid based on fossil fuel use, or shifts toward much more solar/wind energy, or (if we lived in a perfect world) using the new technology of truly failsafe nuclear reactors, it’s still going to need an actual power grid spread across the island. The smart way to spend money would be to rebuild those power lines buried in the ground, so the next hurricane leaves the grid largely intact.

      But I rather doubt that will happen. If PR could afford to do that, they would already have done it. The power grid was so rickety, built on telephone poles and easily destroyed by high winds, precisely because that was the cheapest way to do it. If PR had had the money to build it right in the first place, then they wouldn’t need to rebuild almost the entire grid.

  13. Kdawg says:

    How much of the $10 billion in investment will result in local jobs/spending, feeding back into the local economy/tax-base?

    1. Ron M says:

      I would image most companies will be hiring local workers to rebuild PR they’ll have managers and designers but there not going to import workers from the mainland when they can get local workers for less money.

  14. wavelet says:

    The whole idea is a bizarre joke.
    1) Forget the batteries. PR’s current grid is 2% renewable (lower than any state’s, let alone the national average of 10%)… That’s a bad starting point. Who’s going to pay for the huge amount of utility-scale solar & wind generation needed? Unlike Hawaii, they don’t have any hydroelectric or geothermal sources.

    2) Comparisons to Hawaii aren’t relevant.
    a) Yes, islands that need all the fuel shipped in causing high electricity prices make more sense for renewable generation, but Hawaii’s shipping distances are thousands of miles. PR isn’t that far from US offshore fossil-fuel fields, and while expensive, they pay ~$0.20/kWh vs. $0.30 in Hawaii. Gasoline is also _much_ cheaper than in Hawaii.
    b) PR’s per-capita GDP at $28K/year is about half Hawaii’s (again, lower than any state).

    3) PR’s economy is in very bad shape. Basically, investment there has not had RoI since they lost preferential taxation for corps. ~10 years ago. Why would anyone invest serious money there for long-term infrastructure?

    4) Tesla can supply batteries and high-end residential solar. They don’t do utility-scale solar at all (which makes a lot more sense as solar-thermal, not PV), or any wind generators, or any transmission/switching equipment, or infrastructure project management. Their part in such a project would be negligible.

    5) Before someone says “but Tesla is doing microgrids on some islands” — Microgrids aren’t grids.
    Ta’u mentioned above is small, with under 1000 permanent inhabitants (that’s 8 buildings on a residential street in my town). Supporting 200-300 households which are close geographically doesn’t require long-distance or high-voltage transmission lines, substations etc. Or significant digging and/or construction.
    There’s also no connections to other grids for backup, simply because there aren’t any the island can connect to.
    Sure, there are still challenges involved, but it’s orders of magnitude simpler.

    Since noone’s in the position of paying for this (PR can’t, the Fed Government won’t, private investors have no incentive), it’s a non-starter.

    None of this is any criticism of Tesla or Musk — they’re not in the grid energy infrastructure business. Try companies like GE Power.

    1. Ron M says:

      What are you talking about micro grids aren’t grids. icri grids are small, micro. You have a wind farn or a solar farm and you connect a number of facilities residences to this have a back up battery and you have a micro grid. Connecting a subdivision to a wind farm and batteries and you have a micro grid

      1. wavelet says:

        Sigh. No, microgrids aren’t grids for the purposes of this discussion. Please read pu before you react mindlessly.
        A _major_ part of grids’ cost and complexity is a lot of transmission line & switching equipment, multiple generation sources that have to be balanced & managed etc., all of which are connected for reliability & redundancy. A collection of non-connected small systems with a generator+few consumers doesn’t qualify as a grid.

        1. Martin Winlow says:

          I’d have thought the first thing they should be planning (and planning to pay for) in undergrounding the grid distribution (overhead cables). At least that part of the network would then be pretty hurricane-proof for the future…

    2. Mark.ca says:

      They are not comparing it to HI they are comparing to Kauai which has no geo or wind and below 5% hydro and this year the island had instances of being 90% on renewables.

    3. wavelet says:

      Kauai isn’t remotely comparable either. PR has 56x the population and 35x the area (Kauai is equivalent to an 8×8 mile square, area-wise; no long transmission lines.
      However, the major problem is, just like I said, economic. PR is too poor to afford such investment itself (economy in a horrible shape even before the natural disaster), and there’s nobody who’ll be willing to subsidize it for them.

    4. Brian says:

      With no electricity there will be no payments made on $74B debt. This issue will necessitate a solution.

    5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      @Wavelet:

      Thank you very much for that reality check!

      I don’t know that much about the situation, but what you say certainly seems to fit with what I’ve seen on the news. The idea of rebuilding PR’s grid as a paragon of modern renewable energy… that’s about as likely to happen as pigs flying.

      I’m sure that Telsa will be happy to sell them all the PowerPacks they can use. I’m also sure that Elon is not going to make any donation to the cause which will have a significant impact on what’s needed. He (or Tesla) may very well make a donation for publicity purposes, but they certainly are not going to supply significant numbers of PowerWalls, PowerPacks, or solar panels for free, and probably not even at cost.

  15. SparkEV says:

    Citizens of San Diego are paying $0.22/kWh base rate, so people in PR are paying 10% less. If PR can cut it to $0.12/kWh or even $0.20/kWh, I hope Tesla takes over SDGE and give us a break in our electric bill.

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      12 cents is the cost at the solar farm. You still have to deliver it to customers. It’d be 20+ cents all in.

      Tesla bid 13.9 cents in Kauai. Again, that’s a wholesale price at the solar farm connection point. The Kauai installation provides four hours of evening power. I’m not sure what Teslarati’s proposal would provide – the battery is ridiculously undersized for 24×7 power. It could provide mid-day power that didn’t fluctuate dramatically when clouds passed over.

    2. SparkEV says:

      Even if it’s $0.21/kWh, it’d be savings over what we pay now. Even if it’s same as now, we’d be getting all clean energy rather than mix of fossil fuel that include coal.

  16. Ocean Railroader says:

    Puerto Rico would be a good sized test subject for a 100% made to order renewable energy grid do to them importing oil to power their power plants.

    Maybe Tesla should start out with a modular 50 megawatt project or first try getting solar power to 100 homes as phase one of their project.

  17. G2 says:

    They key thing is to rebuild with resilience in mind, and distributed systems, like solar and wind, need to be part of the answer.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      Makes the best sense so far. The problem is funding the endeavor.

  18. Anderlan says:

    Yes it will pay off. 19B kwhr * $.07 ($.198-$.112) = 1.33G$ per year. That’ll pay down 10 billion dollars in less than 10 years, easily.

    1. Anderlan says:

      This type of math is an example of what’s being realized in pension funds and other conservative credit sources all over the planet.

      1. Anderlan says:

        The only catch is, of course, you don’t decrease kwhr rates.

  19. Dan G says:

    Your math is bad. 19 B KWhr annually means 52M kwhr daily. for 3.4 M people, that’s 15KWhr per person per day. With 12 hours of sun daily, means 4.4 MKw of solar generation. The night time load each day (average) is the driver for sizing the battery. So 52M Kwhr of battery for 100% or 20M KWhr for 40%. If the largest to date is 129 MWhr of battery, this would be 161 times bigger for the 40% capability.

  20. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    Maybe all the millionaire rich people in Hollywood who keeps blasting the goooberment about slow help can pay for any re-infrastructuring? (yeah made the word up…..lol)

    A lot of $h1t talking but none of them doing anything about it while they sit in their 6000sqft air condioned homes……yeah, that’s plural…….homes!

    1. Nick says:

      Raising the issue is doing something. Voting out clueless politicians is another thing.

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        “Voting out clueless politicians”

        I think that’s in the job description to become a “Politician”.

      2. SparkEV says:

        Incumbents have close to 99.999% re-election rate. We don’t vote them out, hence much of the problems we face now. Simple voting strategy to change things: vote against incumbent politician / party.

    2. Mark.ca says:

      Not to defend them or anything but many of them did donate large amounts this hurricane season. When was the last time you donated 1 mil?

  21. Just_Chris says:

    It’s an interesting to look at how you would construct a 2 GW electricity grid from scratch. Cost of the generators is one thing but you also have to ask your self if a conventional grid is required at all. Would a series of micro grids very loosely connected not be more appropriate? it would certainly be more resilient, mixtures of Solar, wind, battery and diesel/gas would seem to make sense, perhaps even tidal. I don’t think that it makes sense to always look to battery + solar to provide the whole solution.

    It’s a shame that there is such a backward looking administration in the US at the moment. There is a massive opportunity for the US to put together a $10-15 billion package to build a grid of the future using American technology in PR, the learning would be massive. It also wouldn’t need to be just aid, I suspect that PR has a state owned grid and power generation network operator who could (provided no one got too greedy) pay back the initial investment with time. I don’t follow US politics very closely but as a complete outsider it really looks like America is heading down the path of having the best protected obsolete industries in the world.

    1. Just_Chris says:

      BTW if they were looking to go down the distributed network of micro-grids and I was in charge of finding a contractor to oversee the whole operation I’d probably go with these guys:

      http://www.marines.mil/

      The have a good track record of working in disaster zones, have an world leading expertise in micro-grids and are well known to be able to move rapidly.

  22. Brave Lil' Toaster says:

    How is this large-scale, single-point-of-generation solution going to fix the problem of broken infrastructure in storm-ravaged areas? Not just now, but into the future.

    See, if these panels were installed on rooftops that were consuming it, and batteries installed in the buildings where the power is generated, that would make sense. Then some of these places would have power (because they still had roofs) while others did not, but it would not be an island-wide outage.

    So while the Kauai plant looks kind of cool and all, it’s still one large generator connected to one large battery, in turn connected through one large set of wires that then distribute power to end users. But the great thing about solar is that you don’t *have* to have one large powerplant. You can put it in your back yard and it won’t make a lot of noise, and it won’t make a lot of pollution, and all that other stuff that makes sense when building diesel and coal powerplants.

    Distributed is better than centralised in a lot of applications. This is one of them.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Unfortunately, having every building contain its own independent power supply is also very expensive. Economy of scale favors a grid, which is far more easily adjusted to deal with incremental increases in power demand in multiple places.

      For example, many Florida home owners with solar power installations were unhappy to discover that they couldn’t use their rooftop solar to provide power when the grid went down. Their solar power installation was built to be tied into the grid, and the house didn’t have the right… what’s the word? inverter? voltage converter? …to function without any grid connection. Building those with the flexibility to be either independently operated or tied into the grid would have been more expensive… so most home owners didn’t go for that option.

      As I understand it, the real problem in PR isn’t generation of power, it’s distribution. If PR had the resources to bury its power lines, as they should have to properly resist storm damage, then they wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. It doesn’t seem to me to be reasonable to suggest that PR jump from “the cheapest we can build” to “far more expensive than what is commonly used on the mainland”.

      Whatever solution is used, it should be one that makes sense in terms of cost/benefit. Rebuilding the grid with buried power lines makes sense. Paying to install independent microgrids all over the island… does not.

      1. Mark.ca says:

        Yes, the rooftop solar array is designed to shut down in case the grid goes down so workers trying to restore power will not get electrocuted by the back feed. There are now options on the market to go arond this issue like smarter inverters that alow you to switch power direction and block it from escaping to the grid but to make it work as it should you still need a battery. It’s not cheap to dich the grid…for now.

  23. Bill Howland says:

    Pretty good selection of comments here: Looks like most people know the real issues involved.

    As stated, the current Generation is mostly intact – the problem is Distribution Construction.

    Obviously on this website the interest is in Tesla batteries, but the real story is HONDA is/was selling 300 – 6500 watt generators per day which will run people’s air conditioners, and are pretty much sold out or forcing people to take 4000 watt models which are unpopular since they’ll run the refrigerator but not the air conditioner.

    Last I checked (a few days ago) exactly 10% of PR is being powered by HONDA!

    When looking at any Harbor “JUNK” Tools Flyer, its obvious that Honda’s pricing means they are very ‘proud’ of their Generator. I bet their stock price and those of their distributors goes way up.

  24. EVer says:

    Not much choice here given the size of the grid, the cost to move to solar and the fact that the power sources are still available, except the wind generators.
    Rebuild the current grid as a series of micro grids and repair the wind generators; but, offer immediate local solar panels for those businesses and homes that can afford to buy and wait. Establish the core design for the micro grids and you can start building the future which I see as a series of interacting micro grids tied together at battery storage points; some powered by solar immediately; some powered by the wind and some powered by fossil fuel until RE can replace the fossil fuel generators. PR as an island is the perfect location for a hardened series of microgrids with multiple planned points of failure for the next hurricane.

  25. K A Cheah says:

    The problem is with the funding not the viable long term one off solution with a off Hurricane resistant technology from TESLA if the fed administration of Donald Trump being a selfish SOAB would not lift a finger help PR with that PR could do crowd funding or issue $20 B disaster debt bonds that its government could underwrite with grid charges to include interests accrued over a 20 years bond period and float the bond at wall street or elsewhere right and simply ???

  26. JeremyK says:

    I hope all the people in PR move to Florida and VOTE in the next election.

    1. FL says:

      And then what, make Florida another failed land like PR with bankrupt electric utilities and the government running out of other people’s money, with more debts than it can serve?

      Sorry they already voted in PR and got the results of their vote even before the hurricanes. Nobody wants the same scorched earth in Florida.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I don’t know how much of PR’s financial difficulties were caused by changing economic situations, and how much by local corruption and mismanagement.

        But I doubt that was JeremyK’s point. Certainly every Puerto Rican who moves to Florida should vote in the next Presidential election… to express their opinion of a white supremacist politician who calls all Hispanics “Mexican” and treats them as subhuman.

  27. Priusmaniac says:

    The real question is not if PR can afford it or not, they obviously can’t, but rather how can PR increase his revenues.
    It is always useful to zoom in on Google earth, and what we see, is potential for these:
    – Way more tourism. (Just look at Hawaii).
    – Use the favorable 18° North position from top of Cerro de Punta (Elevation: 1338 m) for lower required delta v for space launch. (Much better than Cape Canaveral)
    – Develop aquaculture.
    – Use ocean thermal energy (both tropical hot water and cold abyss of -4000m close to each other)
    – Install photovoltaics for more than the island needs and use remainder for Aluminum production.

    1. unlucky says:

      The 18 North is great. And elevation surely doesn’t hurt rocket launches. But mountaintops are sufficiently rare that using them to launch rockets probably is a poor return on investment compared to other possibilities.

      But still, building a launch pad somewhere near the mountain with significant elevation (1000m?) and that advantageous 18N latitude probably is a good idea.

  28. Jose says:

    Rooftop solar panels on most of the homes is the best way to provide safe electicity to the island of PR. No more centralized power with electric lines.
    The solar panels can withstand high winds and with small battery backups, the devastation will be minimized when the hurricane hits the area. Thousands of residents in the island are more than willing to go solar if renewable energy loans with low interest rates were available.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I guess you have not been watching the news, and don’t understand how many homes and other buildings on Puerto Rico have lost part or all of their roof from this Category 5 hurricane.

      It’s unlikely any solar panel will continue to provide power to a house when the roof it’s mounted on is blown away. /snark

  29. none says:

    Your Dignity ad is making all of your pages unreadable. It pulls you to the bottom of the page and you can’t scroll up or down until it finishes playing. Then it loops a minute later and does it again! Frustrating!!

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey None,

      No ads should behave like that, we only allow standard/static ads. With that said, bad ads can get through the provider’s filters.

      They are always targeted, meaning that only a very small percentage of readers will see the ad you are referring too…which also means myself or anyone on the staff are unlikely to see it live.

      So unless someone alerts us to it, as you have (appreciate that), we are ignorant of its existence. We we attempt to troubleshoot from the info you have given us…but if you would so kind next time you see it to take a screenshot of the ad/location on the page and send it to us, we can get rid of it much quicker/easier.

      insideevs@gmail.com

      Again, much thanks for pointing out the issue!

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