Musk in talks to restore power to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s governor says he is “exploring opportunities” with billionaire Elon Musk to restore the island’s shattered electrical infrastructure using solar energy technology.

Less than 10% of Puerto Ricans have power, weeks after the US territory was hit by Hurricane Maria.

Responding to a message on Twitter, Mr Musk, the Tesla co-founder, said his Powerwall renewable energy technology, which powers several smaller islands, could be scaled up to work for Puerto Rico.

Ricardo Rossello, the island’s governor, revealed he’d had a “great initial conversation” with Mr Musk and that their teams “are now talking, exploring opportunities”.

Image: The category five storm destroyed power lines and communications infrastructure

Meanwhile, Mr Musk said he was sending “experienced installers from continental US to hire and train local team as fast as possible”.

He added he was diverting Tesla’s resources “to increase battery production for Puerto Rico and other affected areas”.

It comes weeks after the automotive firm sent hundreds of batteries that can store power generated by solar panels to the island.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, is also pitching in to help with recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria, which left billions of dollars’ worth of damage in its wake.

Toa Baha's neighbourhoods have been badly flooded

Image: Some 34 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria

The tech firm has been granted permission to use balloons to provide emergency cellular service to the island, much of which has been left without phone coverage.

In an application to the US Federal Communications Commission, Alphabet said it was working to “support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability”.

Earlier, FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced he would form a taskforce to address communications issues in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands caused by the category five storm.

He said: “It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services.”

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