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Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: October 06, 2017 08:36AM
Elon Musk and Tesla have offered to solve Puerto Rico's electrical system woes.

Musk, the CEO of electric-car maker Tesla (TSLA), suggested his company's solar power unit could be a long-term solution. The system has been successfully used on smaller islands, but Musk asserts it can be upscaled for the 3.4 million living on Puerto Rico.

The island's governor, Ricardo Rossello, welcomed Musk's offer in a tweet, "Let's talk. Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project,

"[money.cnn.com]

I'm thinking this could be a great loss leader project. If Tesla pulls it off, area's throughout the world with electrical difficulties would be looking at Tesla. That would essentially be just about every island in the world.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: stephen
Date: October 06, 2017 08:40AM
Tesla representatives were on Vieques yesterday, where I have good friends. The smaller scale of that island, and its isolated nature, would make a superb showcase for Tesla's technology.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: October 06, 2017 09:05AM
Proof of concept in American Samoa. Doing the same thing in Australia. And Hawaii.

Solar power and storage, one island at a time. Eventually.... that island will be your town.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: mikebw
Date: October 06, 2017 09:07AM
What have they got to lose? Seems like rebuilding from what is most likely a climate change related disaster with the same technology that has got us to this point is a Sisyphean level exercise in futility.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: October 06, 2017 09:17AM
Quote
mikebw
What have they got to lose? Seems like rebuilding from what is most likely a climate change related disaster with the same technology that has got us to this point is a Sisyphean level exercise in futility.

I don't see how solar power and batteries are going to be better than power lines in a hurricane. Solar panels aren't durable enough to withstand a hurricane. It is a lot easier to hang a new wire than it is to replace solar panels.

What they really need to do, what really needs to be done everywhere there is bad weather, is to bury the cables underground. Especially the last mile part of the equation. If you only have to repair the main lines power can come back up very quickly. The problem now is that they have to fix all the auxiliary runs that are down before they can fix and restore the main lines.



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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: Frank
Date: October 06, 2017 09:21AM
Tesla installed a solar system on Kauai that began operating this past year. We have enough alternative energy to provide 100% of the power the island needs during daylight hours. The Tesla system is 49 acres of solar panels and one acre of batteries. This power can be used at night and the contract our electrical coop entered into with Tesla makes that power available to the grid at a rate (20 cents a KWH, I think) that's less than the cost of providing that power from oil. Our rates are creeping down as a result of this and other similar sources.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: billb
Date: October 06, 2017 10:03AM
Quote
C(-)ris
Quote
mikebw
What have they got to lose? Seems like rebuilding from what is most likely a climate change related disaster with the same technology that has got us to this point is a Sisyphean level exercise in futility.

I don't see how solar power and batteries are going to be better than power lines in a hurricane. Solar panels aren't durable enough to withstand a hurricane. It is a lot easier to hang a new wire than it is to replace solar panels.

What they really need to do, what really needs to be done everywhere there is bad weather, is to bury the cables underground. Especially the last mile part of the equation. If you only have to repair the main lines power can come back up very quickly. The problem now is that they have to fix all the auxiliary runs that are down before they can fix and restore the main lines.

actually they fix both the primary and secondary lines simultaneously but the issue is they still have lines and underground services don't work so well in flood zones.
Unless Musk intends to give away battery systems to all the poor people on the Island it won't happen. Most of these people don't have roofs that will support panels - why you see so many tarps after every hurricane.
Solar is great for getting them off expensive oil for power but it doesn't fix the infrastructure problem.



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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: PeterW
Date: October 06, 2017 10:15AM
Last I heard, the government and public utilities of PR were bankrupt. Who is going to pay for Musk's "largesse"?
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: 3d
Date: October 06, 2017 10:21AM
Elon Musk offered a solution. He didn't offer to pay for it.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: October 06, 2017 10:32AM
billb...
Somewhat.
1- Solar panels are more durable than you think. They are built to survive heavy hail storms, and built to go past FL hurricane standards. They would have had problems with a Cat 5 storm.

2- Local panels AND storage provide a local power grid solution. American energy production is all about 'big plant, long distance transmission'. Solar power systems can be built distributed, and switched accordingly. In the 2003 Northeast blackout, a small town near mine had an old school (1920's) municipal generating plant that had been converted to natural gas. They isolated their grid, and that town had power while everybody else was wandering around in the dark for the better part of two days.

If we think of solar systems on a village basis, it's more survivable. And more sustainable. And can be built up organically rather than One Big Thing.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: Ammo
Date: October 06, 2017 10:35AM
Due to jumpy brain neurons, I initially misread the subject as "Musk offers to buy Puerto Rico." And maybe he could afford to.



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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: Fritz
Date: October 06, 2017 10:38AM
Quote
Frank
Tesla installed a solar system on Kauai that began operating this past year. We have enough alternative energy to provide 100% of the power the island needs during daylight hours. The Tesla system is 49 acres of solar panels and one acre of batteries. This power can be used at night and the contract our electrical coop entered into with Tesla makes that power available to the grid at a rate (20 cents a KWH, I think) that's less than the cost of providing that power from oil. Our rates are creeping down as a result of this and other similar sources.

yet another reason to move to Kauai .......
if there was just enough beaches, beer, sunshine and good looking intelligent woman .........



!#$@@$#!

If there are spelling issues, please pardon, Owen the cat is sitting on my keyboard.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: October 06, 2017 10:45AM
During Hurricane Mitch (1998, category 5), I had several friends living on Roatan. At least two of them were completely dependent on Solar with batteries. Before the storm arrived, one removed the panels and then replaced them afterwards; the other had storm shutters that he coved the panels with. Both came through unscathed. Those who were relying on RECO (island electric coop) were out for days and a few never did get new lines run. So with a little forethought and preparation, solar panels can be protected from even the worst storms.

It will be interesting to see how Tesla approaches the challenge, but I have little doubt that they can do it.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: gabester
Date: October 06, 2017 10:57AM
Quote
Ombligo
...completely dependent on Solar with batteries. Before the storm arrived, one removed the panels and then replaced them afterwards; the other had storm shutters that he coved the panels with. Both came through unscathed.

I was thinking that this seemed to be an obvious precautionary solution... certainly better than having to buy many new panels in terms of cost... and the requirement to replace the damaged ones anyway.

So if you've got a big storm and enough warning protecting your panels shouldn't be a serious problem in many cases...

But you've gotta hand it to Elon Musk's ability to think ahead - rather than buy his own private island + evil lair, he's just cornered the market on powering everyone else's!
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: billb
Date: October 06, 2017 11:48AM
Quote
cbelt3
billb...
Somewhat.
1- Solar panels are more durable than you think. They are built to survive heavy hail storms, and built to go past FL hurricane standards. They would have had problems with a Cat 5 storm.

2- Local panels AND storage provide a local power grid solution. American energy production is all about 'big plant, long distance transmission'. Solar power systems can be built distributed, and switched accordingly. In the 2003 Northeast blackout, a small town near mine had an old school (1920's) municipal generating plant that had been converted to natural gas. They isolated their grid, and that town had power while everybody else was wandering around in the dark for the better part of two days.

If we think of solar systems on a village basis, it's more survivable. And more sustainable. And can be built up organically rather than One Big Thing.

1. I know solar panels are quite durable, Several hurricanes on the Gulf have born this out, as most failures have been the structures they are attached to. Which, if you've been to Puerto Rico you've seen is problem #1. In fact is problem #1 in many caribbean communities where the mean yearly income is <$25,000.00 a year.

2. solar panels still require a grid for distribution. That is what is slowly being rebuilt in PR.

You're not installing solar panels on tin and lathe roofs. Ain't happening.



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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: October 06, 2017 12:38PM
I think that the idea is for PR you can spend $x on rebuilding what you had and then continue to spend $y/month on fuels for your island...or, you can spend the same $x on a solar/battery farm and have power costs diminish over time instead of going up. Admittedly, Tesla's solar farms haven't publicly weathered a >Cat4 storm yet that I'm aware of, so perhaps they're not the best option...but it has to be tempting to a bankrupt island in tatters.



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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: PeterW
Date: October 06, 2017 12:49PM
You still have to rebuild the grid regardless of how you power it. And unless Musk is going to finance the entire cost, no one else is going to do so.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: bfd
Date: October 06, 2017 12:52PM
Solar panels don't have to go on rooftops. In fact, the installation of ground structures would likely be a much better long-term solution. It's not about every house having a panel or two on top, but of having several large-scale installations and then more localized structures. There is plenty of space on that island for this to happen. If the infrastructure is underground, then it could make even more sense.

However, and it's a big BUT, the cost for this would be in the billions of $$$. It is something that could be ramped up, but we're talking a 15-30 year commitment, with a constant flow of $$$. That's something that even Elon can't cough up. Of course, if Tesla could get a sweet land deal - and the ability to build battery and car factories on the island for practically free, then who knows what might happen. You can bet that his interest is not 100% altruistic…
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: mikebw
Date: October 06, 2017 01:03PM
Quote
C(-)ris
Quote
mikebw
What have they got to lose? Seems like rebuilding from what is most likely a climate change related disaster with the same technology that has got us to this point is a Sisyphean level exercise in futility.

I don't see how solar power and batteries are going to be better than power lines in a hurricane. Solar panels aren't durable enough to withstand a hurricane. It is a lot easier to hang a new wire than it is to replace solar panels.

What they really need to do, what really needs to be done everywhere there is bad weather, is to bury the cables underground. Especially the last mile part of the equation. If you only have to repair the main lines power can come back up very quickly. The problem now is that they have to fix all the auxiliary runs that are down before they can fix and restore the main lines.

Good points, but what I was actually getting at was that the solution should be one that does not further contribute to global warming the way coal/gas/oil plants will.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: October 06, 2017 01:28PM
Quote
PeterW
You still have to rebuild the grid regardless of how you power it. And unless Musk is going to finance the entire cost, no one else is going to do so.

So, they will just live in darkness in perpetuity? Puerto Rico's grid needs to be rebuilt anyway, PeterW. Someone is going to have to finance it, and I hate to be the one to point out that ultimately, it's gonna be you.



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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: Surfrider
Date: October 06, 2017 03:39PM
De-centralizing the source of electricity means that instead of electricity coming down like dominos during the next hurricane. Parts of the island that didn't get so mangled would still have power.

Seems like a no brainer to me.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: Speedy
Date: October 06, 2017 03:59PM
Quote
Surfrider
De-centralizing the source of electricity means that instead of electricity coming down like dominos during the next hurricane. Parts of the island that didn't get so mangled would still have power.

Seems like a no brainer to me.

Which is why it won't happen. That and the monied interests in the generation business don't want to see it happen. It's all about the $$$$.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Musk offers to electrify Puerto Rico
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: October 06, 2017 05:09PM
Quote
Speedy
...the monied interests in the generation business don't want to see it happen. It's all about the $$$$.

This. The current utility seems to be tied to organized crime. Musk is going to need to work with the current corrupt system somehow or the cells and batteries are going to join the assets of midnight electrical supply.



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