Tesla and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) have started adding users to their virtual power plant (VPP) in California.
Earlier this month, Tesla and PG&E announced the launch of the Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) for homeowners, allowing them to send electricity from their Powerwall to the grid when it was necessary. The program offered monetary incentives to participants. Under the ELRP, PG&E customers are eligible to receive $2 for every additional kWh they feed to the CA grid during “events” when more power is needed.
Tesla and SpaceX Alumni Rick Davis recently shared the news that he got into Tesla’s VPP Beta program, suggesting that the EV manufacturer and PG&E are expanding their reach to more homes in California. Tesla and PG&E launched a VPP Beta Program last July for Powerwall owners. However, the Beta Program was voluntary and did not offer monetary incentives. As Davis’ revealed, there are currently 1,262 homes that have joined the virtual power plant. The new ELRP program might entice even more users to join the virtual power plant.
“With Tesla’s participation in PG&E’s Emergency Load Reduction Program, we are further integrating behind-the-meter battery energy storage based VPPs on the largest scale yet,” PG&E representative Paul Doherty told Teslarati.
“Virtual Power Plants are an essential part of California’s clean energy future and a valuable resource for supporting grid reliability. PG&E has had VPPs in some form for the past 15 years and we continue actively integrating VPP resources (such as smart thermostats and batteries) into our energy supply portfolio,” he said.
Tesla has set up virtual power plants in Australia, successfully demonstrating their benefits.
For instance, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) reported that the average daytime power prices in South Australia fell below zero, hitting a negative AU$9.28/MWh in the first quarter of 2021.The VPP in South Australia also demonstrated its usefulness in 2019 when fed power to the grid during an unexpected power outage.