LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
After deploying a solar and battery system to a children's hospital in San Juan this October, Tesla has installed six more similar systems to help power the hurricane-wrecked islands of Vieques and Culebra in Puerto Rico.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Governor Ricardo Rossello's office said that Tesla installed the new units as "a humanitarian effort."
More than two months have passed since Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico's already weakened electric grid. Restoration of power has been set back by frequent outages and mired in controversy (i.e. Whitefish Energy). Electric capacity is only at 68 percent after the Sept. 20 storm hit.
As reported by Electrek, Tesla's Powerpack systems on Vieques and Culebra will act as microgrids until the main grid connected via underwater cables switches back on.
The packs will help provide the 8,825 people in Vieques and 1,797 in Culebra with reliable and renewable energy. The systems are installed at key areas, including a sanitary sewer treatment plant, the Arcadia water pumping station, the Ciudad Dorada elderly community, the Susan Centeno hospital, and the Boys and Girls Club of Vieques.
Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority executive Elí Díaz Atienza told Electrek that each system has a capacity of 250kW/500kWh and they can run "the Vieques facility 70 percent of the time at 100 percent capacity and the installation of Culebra 100 percent of the time at 100 percent capacity."
"Due to the limited access to the Municipality Islands, and the importance of the sanitary sewer processing systems and their direct relationship with the health and the environment, we understand the need to provide energy options to improve the capacity for recovery after an interruption of the network," Gov. Rosselló said, according to Elecktrek's translation of a radio interview. "These projects are part of the measures we are taking to build a better Puerto Rico after the passage of Hurricane Maria and ensure a reliable service for the benefit of the citizens who reside here."
"In addition," Rosselló noted, "when the electrical system comes back into operation in Vieques and Culebra, Tesla's battery systems can help stabilize the network to avoid interruptions and reduce the cost of energy for businesses and residents."
The governor spoke previously about transforming Puerto Rico's fragile power system with help from renewables. Rosselló wants the U.S. territory to boost its use of wind and solar electricity to provide for as much as 25 percent of the island's electricity.
What's more, the Elon Musk-headed company could be planning several additional larger scale projects, Electrek reported.
The government told the publication that Tesla "presented several projects in remote areas that would allow entire communities to be more independent" and they also "presented a proposal to the Authority for Public-Private Partnerships for the deployment of a large-scale battery system designed to help stabilize the entire Puerto Rico electricity network."