Although it represents a significant problem with the infrastructure of Puerto Rico, the recent nationwide blackout did provide an opportunity for the technology company, Tesla, to test some of their latest advancements in energy storage technology. Nearly 1 million individuals went without power this week in Puerto Rico whenever there was an islandwide blackout. There were a few exceptions; however, most of them thanks to the new Tesla energy storage systems that have been installed in the nation.
After the hurricanes devastated the island last year, Elon Musk decided to utilize the opportunity in order to demonstrate the applications of some of his companies new technology. They started to ship Powerwalls and Powerpacks to the island. Powerwalls are a home energy storage device that allows individuals who have solar power to store large amounts of power at their residence. Powerpacks are similar to Powerwalls however they are larger and have been designed for commercial and utility scale application.
Elon Musk recently announced that they had added 662 locations to their energy storage network in the island. These locations were all able to maintain power during the nationwide blackout. Elon Musk also stated that his company has plans to continue adding several hundred more of these energy storage devices to the energy grid of Puerto Rico.
Several of the locations that were powered by these devices were critical service locations. A few examples of these locations include a sewer treatment plant, a water pumping station, a hospital, and even an elderly community.
While it is certainly tragic that many hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans were forced to go without power this week, the opportunity did provide a proof of concept for the new large-scale energy storage systems. Particularly considering that the locations that were helped by energy storage devices contained some very important services that could have been devastating if they had had to go without power.
Puerto Rico has also announced that they are considering to implement Tesla’s plan for a series of micro-grids. This plan would help to bring power back on a larger scale. It would also allow several remote communities to operate significantly more independently. The government is currently in the process of creating several proposals that would allow the deployment of a large-scale battery system.