Elon Musk the billionaire owner of Tesla has pledged to meet with the governor of Puerto Rico to discuss ways he can help to rebuild the broken electrical grid on the island through reliable renewable energy.
After the U.S. territory’s electrical generation as well as distribution network was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, which left millions of people with no power for months, the CEO at Tesla said through his Twitter account that his company could help.
The strategy of Tesla involves putting together large batteries with solar roof tile and solar panels, providing an energy solution that if off-the-grid, that keeps lights turned on without needing help from fossil fuels. Tesla’s SolarCity division is in charge of sales and installation.
Musk on Wednesday said that the team from Tesla had done the same for several of the smaller island across the globe, but no scalability limit exists, so it could also be done in Puerto Rico.
The suggestion by Musk drew Governor Ricardo Rossello’s attention, who tweeted back saying, “Let’s talk.”
Musk replied on Friday that he would be more than happy to talk and hoped Tesla could help.
This exchange comes amidst tremendous uncertainty related to how to restore the electrical grid in Puerto Rico, which was dilapidated prior to the storm as well as bankrupt.
Pundits suggested that the destruction of Maria paradoxically represented opportunity for the island to reimagine its polluting and unreliable electrical infrastructure.
Last year, Puerto Rico used oil to generate over 47% of the electricity it produced, in comparison to just 0.6% for all of the U.S., showed data at the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The island received just 2% of its overall electricity through renewable sources, in comparison to almost 15% for the U.S.
Since the hurricane wiped out the power generation and the distribution network of the island, many important institutions on the island like hospitals and plants that manufacture drugs have had to operate on just power from generators.
A research firm based in Massachusetts has predicted that the federal oversight board of Puerto Rico would in the end turn to a partner in the private sector to execute partial or complete privatization of the power grid on the island known as PREPA or the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
Last week bondholders offered a loan of $1 billion to PREPA, which rejected an offer that was aimed at jump-starting the process of rebuilding.