Elon Musk Suggests A Solution For Puerto Rico’s Power Grid: Tesla Batteries

The car maker has built power-generation systems that use solar or wind energy, storing the excess in lithium-ion batteries like the ones found in Tesla automobiles.

By Jill AmentOctober 10, 2017 2:03 pm| ,

Much of Puerto Rico remains without power, but the man who brought hype about a Hyperloop to Texas thinks he can help the island get back on track.

Via Twitter, Tesla and SpacEx Founder Elon Musk, offered to rebuild Puerto Rico’s crippled electric grid – in part with the same lithium-ion batteries used to power his popular electric cars. Puerto Rico Governor, Ricardo Rosselló, says they’re “exploring” Musk’s offer.

Mark Harral is the CEO of Group NIRE in Lubbock. The group was formed by Texas Tech University to provide resources to study and create solutions for integrating renewable resources into electric grids.

Musk’s method calls for generating renewable power with either wind or solar energy. Power storage systems will then house the renewable energy that is not currently being used. When this energy is needed, it will then be discharged to supply power. Harral says Musk’s approach was b tested in Lubbock, around 2014 through a project with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT.

Musk helped with a similar approach for a 6 megawatt facility in Samoa, a 52 megawatt facility in Kauai and, according to Harral, a current 129 megawatt project in Australia. Puerto Rico’s need, however, is much greater, an estimated 20 billion megawatt hours worth of power in a given year.

Harral says Musk is repackaging Tesla car batteries into containers and shipping them out. Musk is said to have more than 26 gigawatts of energy in lithium- ion batteries, going into pre-ordered cars. Although his approach seems doable, Harral is unsure of the delivery process that would be required in such a short amount of time.

 

Written by Dani Matias.