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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Chance to remake the grid



Elon Musk is like someone ripped right out of a Science Fiction novel. He has his finger in every futuristic pie -everything from electric cars to rocket ships.

Mr. Musk has offered to re-power Puerto Rico using solar panels and his advanced battery technology. He's already used his devices to power some small islands. Elon claims there's no reason his power systems cannot scale up. Already he has employees on the ground, attaching his batteries to existing solar panel infrastructure.

This could be a huge boon for the island. Right now all their energy is generated using expensive fossil fuels. The island's grid was pretty shaky before the storm. It would make little sense to invest a lot of money in a power system that was inadequate to begin with.

Solar makes so much sense for a place like Puerto Rico. I live in cold and cloudy northern New Hampshire. We have one of the worse locations for solar power in the United States. In spite of that, I've used it successfully for over 20 years. Sure, I'm just one nut -an early adopted. Now I'm not alone. There are large arrays of solar panels popping up all over the place. Companies are in competition to install them. Even the cross country ski club's warming hut has enough solar electric to power a heat pump.

If it can work here in the frozen north, it should excel in the sunny Caribbean. It should also excel in sunny Florida, but the power lobby is so strong there that they've put up legal road blocks to solar. Not cool at all.

I really hope that PR makes a deal with Elon Musk. It would be a perfect test bed for large scale use of the technology. The island could then avoid importing expensive and polluting fossil fuels. Another added bonus is that solar is diversified. The whole island would never lose the majority of its power again. Now all you have to do is to take out a few power plants and some high power transmission lines and the island goes dark.

I really hope this works out. First of all, it would be great for those on the island, but would also show the rest of the country that it can work on a large scale.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. I'd be interested in seeing how successful it. I hope it is successful.

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    1. No technical why it can't be. However, there may be political and financial hurdles.

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    2. political and graft
      the power companies will resort to murder.

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    3. Big businesses have resorted to violence in the past.

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  2. If he is going to do business in Puerto Rico, I hope he budgets a lot of cash for "la mordida." Puerto Rican politicians put South American dictators to shame for corruption.

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    Replies
    1. Now that it's no longer business as usual on the island, I bet he could get stuff done that would be impossible during normal times.

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  3. Novel method for energy storage would be to pump water up to higher elevation during daylight hours. Then use turbines for night power.

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    Replies
    1. I think I remember that being done somewhere. Forgot where I saw the article.

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    2. I think this has been done several times, but the one I'm most familiar with is the Ludington stored power facility. Seems to work well.

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  4. You can be sure the oil companies will try to kill it, either directly or through the back door.

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    Replies
    1. Elon Musk has power, money and connections too. Someone like that has a chance.

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  5. I think some years back, I read of power generation from the action of tidewaters, flowing back and forth. Its been at least 10 years from when I read the article but for a location where beachfront is all around, worth some thought.

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