Prompted by Tesla’s proposed VPP, Texas PUC assembles workshop on DER Pilots

Credit: Tesla

The Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) is moving forward with its consideration of distributed energy resource pilot. This is prompted by Tesla’s virtual power plant (VPP) proposal. The initiative is led by Commissioner Will McAdams who shared his view on how the PUC should proceed, according to Energy Choice Matters.

Tesla’s U.S. Energy Markets Policy Lead, Arushi  Sharma Frank, shared a thread on Twitter about the upcoming July 11 Aggregated Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) workshop

She also tweeted to the PUC’s Twitter account explaining that small DERs need to be recognized and registered by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). You can read her full thread here.


The July 11 PUC Workshop

Commissioner Jimmy Glotfelty emphasized, “This is not a one-company pilot.” Glotfelty will most likely co-author a future memo addressing issues with McAdams forming the July 11 workshop.

Glotfelty also added that although the PUC’s focus on creating a DER was prompted by Tesla’s proposed VPP, “There’s lots of technologies out there, there’s lots of opportunities, there’s lots of different systems, so we want this to be broad and diverse … we want to understand the benefits of these different technologies.”

The workshop will consist of a group of stakeholders at the PUC and will consider key goals and objectives that they hope to accomplish. It will also discuss issues that the PUC needs to make a decision on if they want to launch the pilot.

McAdams noted that these issues included the “interchange of customers.” This means that “if there is a network of retail providers or NOIEs that’s availing themselves of the pilot, then how can customers move in-between REPs over the duration of that pilot so that they’re not locked in for a number of years under one particular plan, because that would make it unappealing to the broadest possible segment of customers.”

In addition, the following are issues that will also be discussed:

  • The scale of the pilot.
  • Duration. Participation of customers.
  • Overall reliability.
    • Includes the operational interconnection and export dynamics and how the PUC overcomes these two challenges.

The two PUC commissioners expect to issue a joint memo after the workshop. The memo will cover the consensus positions on a policy that could be addressed within the pilot. If so, it will most likely be addressed at the July 14 meeting.

PUC Task Forces & Target Implementation Date For The Pilot

McAdams proposed a task force that would discuss and observe the implementation of the pilot. It would also address operational obstacles and help to identify Commission policy areas that the PUC needs to make determinations. The task force plans to tackle issues that the PUC needs to give ERCOT instructions on.

McAdams said that a target implementation date or session for the pilot needed to be set.  He added that the working group would be invitation-only. This is to ensure that number of participants will be manageable.



Tesla Wants To Help Texas Improve Grid Resiliency & Innovation

@GailAlfarATX has a deep dive on the ERCOT and Tesla VPP program. In her article, Gail explained how Tesla has been working with ERCOT since 2020. Tesla is supporting the state’s efforts on improving the resiliency and innovation of the grid. Gail noted that what Tesla is offering is to help the state protect people and businesses in the event of another critical emergency.

Prompted by Tesla’s proposed VPP, Texas PUC assembles workshop on DER Pilots
To Top