US Puerto Rico governor looks forward to taking the island solar

11:21  08 october  2017
11:21  08 october  2017 Source:   usatoday.com

Puerto Rico governor says relief arriving to storm-ravaged rural areas

  Puerto Rico governor says relief arriving to storm-ravaged rural areas <p>Puerto Rico’s governor says efforts to restore cell service, gas and other basic needs to the island’s rural residents are progressing, even as many in those towns report feeling forgotten</p>“I recognize that right now, whether it’s the gas line or the ATM line, we’re limited,” Governor Ricardo Rossello told Reuters in an interview on Saturday at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the government’s temporary headquarters.

Could Puerto Rico go solar ? Its governor said talks with Elon Musk about that went well. With the island ’s electrical system still in shambles from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has taken a step closer to revamping its Rebuilding Puerto Rico 's old grid is not the most efficient path forward , experts say.

Puerto Rico 's Governor , Ricardo Rosselló said on Saturday he and Elon Musk held a 25-minute telephone conversation on Friday night. The problem Puerto Rico has is common with other islands - They lack the local Enel Green Energy's "Stillwater" solar power plant in the United States.

Power lines are down Sept. 20, 2017, after Hurricane Maria, which hit the eastern region of the island in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Experts say rebuilding an above-ground wired electric grid isn't the best way to proceed.© Carlos Giusti, AP Power lines are down Sept. 20, 2017, after Hurricane Maria, which hit the eastern region of the island in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Experts say rebuilding an above-ground wired electric grid isn't the best way to proceed.

With the island’s electrical system still in shambles from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has taken a step closer to revamping its power grid using Tesla solar technology, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Saturday.

Rosselló and Tesla chief Elon Musk had a 25-minute phone conversation Friday night where the two discussed relief efforts as well as Tesla playing a leading role, Rosselló said in an interview with USA TODAY.

Death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria more than doubles to 34

  Death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria more than doubles to 34 <p>The death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria has more than doubled to 34, a spokesman for Governor Ricardo Rosello said on Tuesday.</p>The worst hurricane to hit the U.S. territory in more than 90 years directly killed 19 people, said Pedro Cerame, the governor's director of communications in Washington.

It comes just weeks after the island ’s governor Ricardo Rosello initiated talks with Elon Musk to help restore electricity. On Twitter, Tesla shared images from the ‘first of many’ microgrids in Puerto Rico . This first look reveals the company has provided enough solar panels to cover nearly an entire

Ricardo Rossello, Governor of Puerto Rico , responded Then he added that he has “no doubt that Tesla Solar will work with Puerto Rico ” and they apparently set up a discussion: Sounds good, I look forward to talking later today.

Teams from Tesla and Puerto Rico’s energy sector will continue the talks early next week, Rosselló said.

“I told him because of the devastation, if there is a silver lining, we can start re-conceptualizing how we want to produce energy here in Puerto Rico and distribute it and do it in a more reliable fashion,” Rosselló said. “It was a very positive first step.”

Musk announced he was delaying the unveiling of Tesla’s new semi-truck and diverting resources to its battery-producing Gigafactory in Nevada in part to “increase battery production for Puerto Rico and other affected areas.”

Tesla already has constructed futuristic energy production and storage Powerpacks in American Samoa and Hawaii that include solar panels and enclosed batteries, reducing demand on traditional diesel-fueled grids that are common on islands.

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  Trump says Puerto Rico's debt will have to be wiped out <p>President Donald Trump said on Tuesday while on a trip to Puerto Rico to observe hurricane recovery efforts that the island's massive debt will have to be wiped out.</p>"They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we're going to have to wipe that out. You're going to say goodbye to that, I don't know if it's Goldman Sachs but whoever it is you can wave goodbye to that," Trump said in an interview with Fox News.

Rachel Martin speaks with Puerto Rico 's governor , Ricardo Rossello, about the impact on recovery efforts. The head of the island 's public electric company resigned last week. ROSSELLO: We've established a path forward so that we can rebuild Puerto Rico stronger.

Elon Musk is ready to tackle rebuilding Puerto Rico ’s electrical grid. Tesla has already implemented systemwide solar and battery projects on islands like Kauai in Hawaii and another American Samoa. When Scott Stapf of the consulting firm The Hastings Group tweeted to the Tesla founder that the

In the case of Hawaii's Kaua’i Island, Tesla's system is expected to reduce fossil fuel demands up to 50% by 2019.

In Friday's call, Rosselló said Musk offered consoling words about the devastation on the island and to help with immediate relief efforts. They also spoke about using Tesla solar technology to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid, including a pilot run in the island-municipality of Vieques, which still pulls its power from Puerto Rico.

Rebuilding Puerto Rico's old grid is not the most efficient path forward, experts say. Experience gained in Puerto Rico — by Tesla or others — could one day migrate to other parts of the world.

“I think entities like Tesla are going to be part of that story,” said Francis O'Sullivan, director of research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT Energy Initiative. “They should look to integrate today’s newer technologies and not simply rebuild the old system we had.”

Elon Musk: Tesla can fix Puerto Rico's broken power grid

  Elon Musk: Tesla can fix Puerto Rico's broken power grid Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tesla could rebuild Puerto Rico's electric grid using solar power. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello replied, "Let's talk." Millions of Puerto Ricans are living in the dark at home after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island, knocking out its already fragile electric grid. Two weeks later, only 9% of residents have electricity, according to Puerto Rican government figures.

It didn't take long for the governor of Puerto Rico to respond positively to Musk's tweet. Tesla has already built a large-scale solar power grid which will be used to power the entire island of Kauai in Hawaii.

Puerto Rico is looking for assistance and Utahns are stepping forward to see what we can do as a state and as a people to help our fellow Americans," the governor said. More than 40 days since Hurricane Maria, more than 70 percent of the island still has no power.

On Saturday, Rosselló met with a bipartisan contingent of five U.S. senators, who visited an island still in the throes of an emergency following Hurricane Maria’s ferocious trek across it 17 days ago.

Around 88% of households are still without power and nearly half of the island can’t access drinkable water. By contrast, 58% have no electrical service in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the other U.S. territory that Maria hit hard.

At least 36 deaths can be attributed to the storm in Puerto Rico, Rosselló said.

Lawmakers in the coming weeks are expected to consider a $29 billion disaster aid package to pay for recovery efforts and federal flood insurance claims in Puerto Rico. Recovery efforts will heavily rely on passage of that package, the territorial governor said.

Though the federal response has been robust and continues to grow, more is needed, he said. Promised teams with the Army Corps of Engineers to help fix the island’s battered electrical grid still haven’t materialized and boatloads of generators, also promised by federal officials, also will greatly relieve the island’s crisis.

Analysis: Things are still dire in Puerto Rico

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Through a series of tweets, the Puerto Rico governor and the Tesla founder decide to discuss installing solar and battery system on the hurricane-wracked island . “Hopefully, Tesla can be helpful,” Musk tweeted Friday, adding a few minutes later, “I look forward to talking later today.”

Puerto Rico ’s governor has already said he’s interested. Musk, founder and CEO of vehicle maker Tesla, tweeted Thursday that Tesla has developed solar power grids for much smaller islands , including the island of Ta’u in American Samoa Sounds good, I look forward to talking later today.

The island’s water system is linked to the electrical system, so residents can’t get water until most of the power grid returns online.

“We need that immediate relief package from Congress,” Rosselló said. “That should provide that runway for us to complete recovery efforts.”

The dealings with Tesla began as friendly Twitter banter. On Thursday, Musk tweeted that his team had rebuilt smaller islands’ power grids using independent solar systems “but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico, too.”

Rosselló responded: “Let’s talk. Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project."

That exchange led to Friday’s phone call.

Rosselló stressed that Tesla and Puerto Rican officials still are in the early phases of talks.

Even before Maria, Puerto Rico’s electrical grid was antiquated and heavily in debt. New solar panels linked together to feed into a regional grid would generate its own power, be less vulnerable to storms and cut down customers’ energy bills, according to energy analysts.

Rosselló said he always has been interested in renewable energies. Given a chance to bring solar power to the island courtesy of one of the leading companies in the field was too big an opportunity to pass up.

“Even though we’re still in the emergency phase, the opportunity to rebuild better than before is one that I cherish and take very seriously,” Rosselló said.

Contributing: Emre Kelly, Florida Today. Follow Rick Jervis on Twitter: @MrRJervis

Puerto Rico Sets Goal of 95% Power Restoration in December .
Currently, the government says just 14.6 percent of customers in Puerto Rico have connected electric service, three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit.More than three weeks after the Hurricane hit, only around 14.6 percent of Puerto Rico had electric service restored, according to the government. Generators were being used to power businesses and other structures.

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