My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: JPSCo US$5 million Smart Grid and Tesla Motors Battery Storage Tech Fixes Low Power Periods

Sunday, August 7, 2016

JPSCo US$5 million Smart Grid and Tesla Motors Battery Storage Tech Fixes Low Power Periods

Looks like JPS Co is playing a game of Hold  'em Poker with Tesla Motors.

They've forged a deal with American Electric car maker Tesla Motors to install Electric charging Stations as noted in the article “Jamaica Public Service seeking to forge deal with Tesla Electric cars”, published Friday July 8, 2016 by Steven Jackson, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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The deal was announced at the same time JPS co has declared their intention to expand their US$5 million JPSCo smart meter program as declared in the my blog article entitled “How US$5 million JPSCo smart meter rollout means CONEC Mobile Money for Tesla Motors Charging Stations”.

JPS Co CEO and President Kelly Tomblin says they'll put down the wiring infrastructure but not install the actual Electric charging stations; that'll be done by Tesla Motors to their specification as well as any other supplier of All-Electric Vehicles.

Good to note that Elon Musk owned Tesla Motors wasn't initially receptive to the idea of doing business with such a small island, to quote Kelly Tomblin: “When we first called Tesla and said, 'We want one of your vehicles', they kind of smirked a little bit, arguing that the market is too small”.

But the Caribbean is a gateway to Latin America; for them Jamaica may be a test bed to launch into that potentially huge market. So they eventually came on board to quote President Kelly Tomblin: “But we are having a conversation with Tesla today at three, four 'o clock to talk about storage and the possibility of bringing in Electric vehicles. So if they combine the Electric storage options along with the cars, then we think we can”.

JPSCo and Tesla Motors – Launchpad for the conquest of Latin America

This is a good fit with Jamaica, especially as JPS Co CEO and President Kelly Tomblin herself drives a Mitsubishi Outlander, an Electric Vehicles that uses the Range Extender Technology as described in my blog article entitled “How JPS Co CEO Kelly Tomblin Mitsubishi Outlander means importation of Range Extender Electric Vehicles Needed”.

This as the response from many curious Jamaicans may have also spurred JPS Co to realize that with the coming US$5 million Smart Grid AMI, installing the facilities for Electric Charging Stations was a good long-term future bet. It also a familiar move for the company; JPS's co­parent, Korea East­West Power Company, operates 3,200 charging stations in South Korea.

So it has the blessing of the parent company. But will this work out as profitable for JPS Co?

JPS Co US$5 million Smart Grid AMI and Tesla Motors - Finding usage for Low Power periods

The parent companies seem to think so. JPSCo's ownership is split between three (3) entities:

1.      40% Marubeni Corp of Japan
2.      40% Korea East­West Power Company
3.      19.9% Government of Jamaica

JPSCo 's thinking seems to be that they want to find usage for their Grid power during periods of low Electricity usage when the rate of power production falls. Since most people are at home after 9 pm at nights, when grid power usages starts to fall, the idea is that All-Electric Vehicles and Battery Storage tech from Tesla Motors would create new customers.

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In so doing, it would help to meet the aims of JPS co in terms of improving the Electricity losses, which is 26% of power produced. This breaks down as follows:

1.      31% due to Transmission Wiring Resistance
2.      69% due to Theft

By inviting Tesla Motors to Jamaica, they’ve hoping to solve the chicken vs the egg problem of Electric vehicles in Jamaica.

This problem is where the vehicle importers cannot import Electric vehicles into Jamaica unless they've build out a network of Electric Charging stations first. But in order to build Electric Charging stations, you need to have Electric Vehicles already in Jamaica needing to be recharged to be profitable, as Jamaican aren't going to buy into a new tech so quickly.

JPS co had showcased President Kelly Tomblin Mitsubishi Outlander at the Expo 2016 at the National Arena and Indoor Sports Complex. A Tesla may soon be coming to Jamaica branded with the JPS Co logo to demonstrate the commitment to Tesla expectations for Electric cars to account for 30% of car sales globally by 2026.

With JPSCo taking the initiative, they hoping to add these charging stations to their smartmeter account. Already they've got some impressive stats:

1.      580,000 customers
2.      60,000 smartmeters installed
3.      5000 large commercial and industrial consumers already on smartmeters

If Jamaicans began to warm to the idea of paying their house and light bill as one, then when Electric Vehicles take off, they’d benefit as they already have Electric Vehicles Charging stations ahead of any other potential competitors. Tesla Motors would also benefit as they'd also be able to sell their Battery Storage option, which involves a large battery system that can be tied to a solar array.

Jamaican Car importers, seeing JPSCo commitment to installing Electric Charging stations, will start to import and advertise All-Electric Vehicles. Hopefully, politicians will be some of the first customers to purchase a Tesla Motor Vehicle and Battery storage facility as an example for the rest of Jamaica to follow.

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