The sleeping giant that is Tesla Energy is showing signs that it is waking up. This became quite evident in Texas as Tesla filed an application with the Texas Public Utility Commission to sell power in the state. Tesla’s application came as the company pursues a number of high-profile battery storage projects in the state, such as a 100 MW system in Angleton, TX, and a 250 MW battery near Giga Texas.
The flings, which were initially reported in Texas Monthly, were filed in mid-August by a new Tesla subsidiary called Tesla Energy Ventures. In classic Tesla fashion, the public details about the initiative are pretty scarce, though individuals familiar with the matter have noted that if the filings are approved this November, Tesla Energy Ventures may very well stand out among the state’s crowded, deregulated retail energy market.
Texas is home to numerous electricity companies, and Tesla, which has made a name for itself as a premium brand, would likely not fight it out with the state’s bargain power retailers. Tesla could have an edge against its competitors, however, as the company could sell power that is either drawn from the grid or pulled from residential Tesla batteries in the event of a blackout. Tesla may even allow Texans with solar panels to earn money by sharing their excess power with the grid.
Tesla Energy’s entry into the Texas energy market comes at the perfect time. The state, after all, just experienced massive blackouts earlier in February due to winter storms, which triggered widespread power outages across Texas. The state’s power providers took a massive hit following the blackouts, with five electric retailers exiting the market since February. But with these departures came opportunities for other energy providers like Tesla, as 13 different companies have filed applications to sell electricity in the state since the blackouts.
Interestingly enough, Tesla already started making preparations for its energy play in the state even before it filed for its recent applications. As of June, Tesla had installed over 1 GW of solar panels in Texas, as per federal energy data. That’s a lot of new residential customers with solar panels and Powerwall batteries. It also represents the pieces of a budding virtual power plant, which could end up functioning like a massive battery system capable of supporting the grid when needed.
Tesla seems to be ensuring that its energy initiatives in Texas could bring it some solid profits as well. Filings indicate that Tesla Energy Ventures’ President is Ana Stewart, the company’s director of regulatory credit trading. Ultimately, the Texas project could help Tesla Energy achieve its full potential, which Musk has hinted at in the past. “I think long-term Tesla Energy will be roughly the same size as Tesla Automotive,” Musk said.
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