Elon Musk says that Tesla can rebuild Puerto Rico's electricity system with independent solar and battery systems. In a response to Twitter user's question about Musk's ability to revamp the island's power infrastructure, he said:
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.
Puerto Rico's Governor, Ricardo Rossello, retweeted Musk's original tweet and reached out to him, suggesting that the island could be a "flagship project" in terms of showcasing Tesla's scalability potential.
@elonMusk Let's talk. Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project. https://t.co/McnHKwisqc
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) October 6, 2017
Early Friday morning, Musk responded that he'd be "happy to talk," adding that he hoped Tesla could be helpful. Tesla made headlines over the weekend by pledging to send hundreds of Powerwall batteries to the hurricane-ravaged island. The batteries will provide life-saving energy to parts of the island that are having trouble restoring access to electricity.
I would be happy to talk. Hopefully, Tesla can be helpful.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017
Overhauling the territory's energy grid is a much larger endeavor than a few hundred Powerwalls can handle. Also, even before the storms touched down on the island's shores, Puerto Rico was mired in debt and Tesla's technology is not cheap.
As Musk said, the technology is there — it's the bureaucratic and financial limitations of the Puerto Rican government that stands in the way. In the future, we can hope that it doesn't take a disaster for people to recognize the potential of supporting renewable energy infrastructure.