Tesla, striving for a world in which renewables play a more prominent role, is eyeing an expansion into storm-ravaged islands of the Caribbean.

Car and energy company Tesla, striving for a world in which renewables play a more prominent role in production and storage, is eyeing an expansion into storm-ravaged islands of the Caribbean – and it could become a key player in shaping grids of the future.

The historic destruction wrought by hurricanes Irma and Maria on the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this month downed once operational and largely fossil fuel-powered grids, opening up the possibility for companies like Tesla to move in and establish a presence.

If utilities are restored with an eye toward the future, experts say, the islands might host new types of grids that could one day migrate to other parts of the world.

“I think entities like Tesla are going to be part of that story,” said Francis O’Sullivan, director of research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MIT Energy Initiative. “They’re building a technology package that will be needed.”

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‘Send Tesla’

Twelve days after the southern half of Hurricane Irma swept over St. John, the smallest of three main U.S. Virgin Islands, a desperate survivor of the Category 5 storm used debris from a nearby home to spell out “Send Tesla,” according to an aerial photo captured by international news agency Reuters. 

Social media postings noted that Tesla did send at least one representative to the island and began “signing up” survivors for solar services. Due to the island’s compromised communications infrastructure, however, residents could not be contacted to gather additional details. Tesla would not…