Forget the Puerto Rico Power Grid

Forget the Puerto Rico Power Grid

Begin not with inventing, but with forgetting. You must let go of what you’ve learned … – Govindarajan & Trimble in Reverse Innovation, 2012.

puerto rico power grid

To Puerto Rico: Forget the Grid

Puerto Rico may be ready to forget about their old, rickety power grid and embrace the future. Elon Musk has offered the vision of a future with distributed, renewable energy, using Tesla batteries and solar panels. 

At least one official of the island is interested.

Huffington Post reports that Governor Ricardo Rossello  has responded to Musk’s offer, tweeting “Let’s talk”.

Surviving A Complete Wipe Out Of The Puerto Rico Power Grid

Puerto Rico has the advantage of a complete wipe out of their power grid. This blank slate creates an opportunity to build something different and better– if only the leaders and people of the island can forget the central Puerto Rico power grid, and resist calls to resurrect the old system with “stronger poles and wires” (Mark Mills, WSJ, Oct 6, 2017). –if only they can focus, instead, on the vision of a distributed, renewable energy system.

Tesla and German microgrid maker, Sonnen GmbH, have already stepped into the void. Tesla has sent hundreds of power wall battery systems and accompanying solar panels.

Bloomberg reports German Micro grid maker, Sonnen GmbH has donated small scale (microgrid) systems, combining solar panels and batteries, to 15 relief centers. In addition, the company has said they will donate profits from sales of their systems to build more.

Houston-based Sunnova, Inc., Puerto Rico’s largest rooftop solar provider, is also ready to help create a transformation in the power system.

Embracing An Opportunity For Change With Recovery

If Puerto Rico can nurture these seeds of change, they have the chance to become a model distributed, renewable energy system.

Puerto Rico is now an excellent incubator for innovation precisely because they do not have a working established power grid. If only they can forget  the past and embrace the vision of a different future that is being offered.

I do not want to minimize the suffering of the people of Puerto Rico, nor the difficulty of their road to recovery. But I can’t help but be excited about the opportunity for this part of the USA to take the lead and create an energy system that may become the envy of the rest of us.

Trudy Heller, Ph.D.



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