Tesla’s Texas electricity retail operations to lean on battery storage experience

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Tesla Powerwall residential battery systems used in a grid-balancing pilot project by Vermont utility Green Mountain Power. Image: Green Mountain Power.

Tesla’s planned launch of a retail electricity offering to existing customers within the ERCOT service area in Texas will lean heavily on battery storage as well as solar for its expertise, assets and routes to market. 

Newly-created subsidiary Tesla Energy Ventures filed an application in mid-August with the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC), for certification as a Retail Electric Provider (REP) within the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) jurisdiction. ERCOT serves more than 80% of Texas’ electric load and has become a leading market for wind, solar and latterly battery storage in the US. 

Tesla Energy Ventures hopes to be registered and ready for testing for its ability to meet ERCOT requirements in October. The subsidiary’s leadership team is headed up by four Tesla team members, who have a combined 15+ years of experience in the competitive electric industry, as required. Its president, Ana Stewart has been Tesla director of regulatory credit trading since 2017 and was at SolarCity prior to its Tesla acquisition. 

In the filing with the regulatory PUC two affiliates to Tesla Energy Ventures are listed as certified to provide electric service in Texas: Gambit Energy Storage, LLC, — the 100MW+ battery storage system project Tesla is reportedly developing in the state — and Giga Texas Energy, LLC, which is thought to relate to renewable energy and battery facilities for the company’s Texas factory which is under construction.    

Scheduling of the retail electricity offering will be managed by ENGIE Energy Marketing North America, an arm of European multinational energy company ENGIE. Tesla Energy Ventures will manage forecasting. According to the filing, Tesla Energy Ventures “will leverage forecasting tools, capability and knowledge already in place to support its utility-scale battery storage system in ERCOT as well as its retail offerings and virtual power plant (VPP) programmes operating today in places ranging from Australia, California, Vermont, Germany and the United Kingdom (UK).”

Tesla intends to market the retail offering to existing customers via its website and apps.

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