Tesla to provide Virtual Power Plant (VPP) services to Texas grid

Credit: Adam Lay/Instagram

A recent press release from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) has revealed that Tesla will be providing Virtual Power Plant (VPP) services to the state’s grid. The program is part of the Aggregate Distributed Energy Resource (ADER) project that the PUCT pushed last year. 

With the VPP in place, Texas could now evaluate how consumer-owned small energy devices, such as home battery units, can be virtually aggregated to provide grid-scale services. Similar programs have been launched by Tesla in California and Australia, to much success. 

As per the PUCT’s press release, the two ADERs that are launching the initiative involve Tesla Electric customers who have Powerwall batteries in their homes. The participants of the program have agreed to sell their surplus power in the ERCOT market, and will be compensated for doing so. One ADER is comprised of Houston-area CenterPoint Energy customers, while the other is comprised of Dallas-area customers served by Oncor Electric Delivery Company.

Tesla Senior Vice President of Powertrain & Energy Engineering Drew Baglino shared his optimism about the initiative. “Today’s launch of the first phase of the Tesla Virtual Power Plant is a milestone for Texas residents, Texas distribution utilities and the ERCOT grid. Our collective work has allowed Tesla to build a decentralized energy ecosystem that seamlessly integrates stored solar energy from Powerwalls onto the ERCOT grid,” Baglino said. 

The two ADERs that are launching the initiative are but the tip of the iceberg for Texas. The PUCT noted that there are currently eight ADERs that are participating in the pilot project, though for now, only two — both of which are represented by Tesla Electric — have completed the required testing for the program. The other six have completed the initial registration steps and are currently in the commissioning stage. 

PUCT Commissioner Will McAdams highlighted the project’s potential in a statement. “Small energy resources found in homes and businesses across Texas have incredible potential to continue improving grid reliability and resiliency by selling the excess power they generate to the ERCOT system. It’s a win-win for Texas. Home and business owners get paid for (the) power they supply, and consumers in ERCOT get more reliability,” he said. 

The PUCT’s press release about Texas’ first VPP can be viewed below.

PUCT Virtual Power Plants to Provide Power to ERCOT Grid for the First Time by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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Tesla to provide Virtual Power Plant (VPP) services to Texas grid
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