Tesla angles to become a major player in the Texas electricity market
The Lone Star State, where Tesla has a growing presence, is famous for its wide-open spaces. What’s not as widely known is that it also has a wide-open deregulated electricity market—at last count, over 120 companies were providing power. This and other factors have led to problems with grid reliability that were brought to light last year, when a cold snap caused widespread outages.
Above: A look at Tesla's stationary storage efforts (Source: Tesla)
Tesla to the rescue—Texas Monthly reports that Tesla Energy Ventures has applied with the Texas Public Utility Commission to enter the electricity market as an official retailer.
Last winter’s debacle shook up the state’s energy market—since the fiasco, at least five electricity retailers have left the market, and 13 others have submitted applications to join.
During the blackouts, a few Texas Powerwall owners posted pix of their homes, cheerily lit up and toasty warm, while the rest of the street was dark. Since then, Tesla has reported a surge in demand for Powerwalls in the state.
In its filing with the Texas PUC, Tesla confirmed plans for two utility-scale battery storage systems— a Megapack project near Houston with a capacity of over 100 MW and a 250 MW installation near Gigafactory Texas in Austin. As an electricity retailer in the state, Tesla could aggregate these with its Powerwalls and residential solar installations to form a massive virtual power plant, coordinated by its Autobidder software.
Observers of Texas’s energy market say that Tesla could quickly become an important player in the state.
According to Texas Monthly, the state currently has over 1 gigawatt of installed residential solar panels. By comparison, the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station’s two nuclear reactors can each generate 1.28 gigawatts.