The Caribbean Shows the Way to a Renewable Future

The Caribbean Shows the Way to a Renewable Future
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Falling energy storage costs and sophisticated control systems are allowing renewables to be the backbone of some Caribbean nations—and providing lessons for mainlands.

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The Caribbean Shows the Way to a Renewable Future
Photo Credit: Wärtsilä Energy

In the span of just a few years, the focus at the annual Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation conference has shifted from issues around producing electricity from thermal capacity — usually oil — to what blend of renewable options constitutes the best path forward.

It is not just a theoretical question for the future, says Risto Paldanius, director of business development for Wärtsilä’s Energy Storage and Optimization business unit, a longtime attendee of the conference.

“It has clearly shifted, and now that the [levelized cost of energy, or LCOE] for renewables is on par or lower than any thermal generation, it’s all about solar and wind,” said Paldanius. “Then the questions become how to achieve the 100 percent renewable future everyone is talking about without causing disturbances in the grid and effectively managing solar ramp rates and generation optimization.”

They are not questions rooted only in environmental sustainability; they also address life-saving resiliency, as seen with storms that have battered communities and their power grids on many islands with devastating outcomes in the past two years, including in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Anguilla.

Read full article on greentechmedia.com


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More Tesla Solar Powerpacks Arrived at PUERTO RICO

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailSince our blog titled, “Elon Musk Willing to Power Puerto Rico” of 6 October, a few hundred Powerwall battery packs for solar power energy arrived in Puerto Rico.

According to *Frederic Lambert of Electrek.co, “The new shipment arrived not long after Musk spoke with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello last week to talk about ways for Tesla Energy to help rebuild the power grid destroyed by the two hurricanes that recently hit the Caribbean.”

That’s not all. Elon Musk is now putting extra effort into bringing power back to Puerto Rico AND other affected areas by unveiling his new Tesla Semi truck earlier than planned:

Tesla, the automaker, is changing the planned revealing date of its electric truck, the Tesla Semi, from October 26 to *November 16 (according to Electrek.co) as it focuses on Model 3 production and aiding “power-less” Puerto Rico.

Tesla Semi, Model 3 truck image from trucks.com

Currently, less than 20% of the island has power and some areas may experience months without electricity. That is why Tesla plans to first focus on helping hospitals and medical centers to get stable power.

Puerto Rico and Tesla seem to be committed to work together beyond short-term solutions and rebuild the power system to be more sustainable with solar power and energy storage. Continue reading “More Tesla Solar Powerpacks Arrived at PUERTO RICO”

Post-Hurricane Aid: Solar Filter Can Turn Sea Water into Potable Water

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailBy Lizpiano

So much sea water but nothing to drink?

As part of our Post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria CoolestCarib.com series, Sustainable Solutions, we introduce a solar still with an open source design (see below article links about the design.)

It is called Eliodomestico and it is a solar-powered water filter, can be made from simple and easily accessible materials, and can purify 5 liters of (sea) water per day (according to India Times.)

Pic from gabrielediamanti.com

Created by Italian designer Gabriele Diamanti, this “solar still” delivers clean and pure drinking water by boiling water and separating it from other elements. Eliodomestico is made from materials like terracotta, anodized zinc, and recycled plastic, operates without filters or electricity, and requires minimal maintenance.

The open source design was named as one of 12 finalists in the Prix Émile Hermès 2011 competition.

There are actually a lot of new products like this, specifically geared towards aiding residents of developing – and now disaster-struck – areas with no clean drinking water. Monash University graduate, Jonathan Liow’s, Solarball is a glass ball that purifies water using the sun.

Diamanti’s solar powered water filter works, in short, like this:

  • Water is poured into the terracotta section of the filter in the morning.
  • Steam is formed as the day develops because the still heats up and later begins to boil the water.
  • The steam that was formed into the nozzle at the top condenses against the lid then drips down into the catch basin below.
  • Provided it was a warm enough day outside, voila! – in the evening there will be 5 liters of fresh drinking water available in the catch basin.

The Eliodomestico can work without fuel, electricity, filters, and needs no maintenance.

According to an article by Bridgette Meinhold of Inhabitat.com: “these devices can also be built anywhere from readily available materials – anyone who can throw a pot can handcraft the main elements necessary for the water filter… Eliodomestico could be made for $50 and produce 5 liters… The design is available as an open-source project for anyone who wants to make one and is licensed under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.”

Continue reading “Post-Hurricane Aid: Solar Filter Can Turn Sea Water into Potable Water”

Elon Musk Willing to Power Puerto Rico

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailBy Lizpiano

Picture of Elon Musk by Getty Images.

That is, if given the green light to go ahead. Elon Musk has helped many smaller islands, like Ta’u Island in Samoa, with his solar power devices and tweeted this yesterday:

“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.”
@elonmusk

Above is a video about the SolarCity created with Tesla’s Microgrid Solar Power in Samoa.

In response to this, Puerto Rico Governor Ricky Rossello showed interest, tweeting “Let’s talk” to Musk, saying “PR could be that flagship project.”

Musk has already done his part for Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria left the island’s power grid in tatters, so Tesla reportedly sent hundreds of Powerwalls — battery systems designed to store energy — along with employees to install them in an effort to restore power.

Powerwall batteries can be paired with solar panels to help restore the grid. According to Fortune.com “the Powerwall, which was first introduced in April 2015, is a battery designed for homes that store the energy generated by solar panels.”

Musk also donated $250,000 of his own money to the relief effort.

In the meantime, President Donald Trump said on Fox News in an interview with Geraldo Rivera, “the island’s debt will have to be wiped out.” Puerto Rico owes over $70 billion to creditors while the total storm cost is between $45 and 90 billion dollars.

Continue reading “Elon Musk Willing to Power Puerto Rico”