Tesla wants to sell power in Texas – CBS San Francisco

PALO ALTO (CNN) – Tesla wants to do more than sell you an electric car. She wants to start selling electricity herself, at least to some people in Texas.

It filed an application with the Texas Public Utility Commission to generate electricity and sell it directly to the public. Details of its exact plans are not included in the app, and Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. But the company said in its filing that it plans to sell electricity directly to consumers with a focus on those who already own Tesla cars.

The case was first reported by Texas Monthly.

The company best known for being the world’s largest electric vehicle company also has a solar power unit. Most of these activities focus on installing solar panels on homes or other buildings, which are then hooked up to batteries, which Tesla dubbed Powerwalls, used to store excess energy captured during the day. to provide energy at night.

Tesla megapack storage for Australia. (Courtesy of Tesla)

But Tesla has a very low-key business known as “Megapack” that builds very large batteries that are used to store large-scale amounts of electricity. It built the first of these massive batteries in Hornsdale, Australia, in 2017, and has since expanded the product to other locations.

“Battery storage is transforming the global electricity grid and is an increasingly important part of the global transition to sustainable energy,” he said in a blog post in 2019. “To meet demand Global of massive battery storage projects like Hornsdale, Tesla has designed and engineered a new battery product specifically for large scale projects. “

It’s a growing business. Tesla has said it is investing more of its available cash in its Megapack. Utilities have announced plans to install more than 10,000 megawatts of additional battery capacity on a large scale from 2021 to 2023 with all kinds of battery suppliers, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This is an increase from just 1,650 megawatts of full-scale capacity in place at the end of last year.

Bloomberg announced earlier this year that Gambit Energy Storage LLC, a subsidiary of Tesla, is quietly building a more than 100 megawatt energy storage project in Angleton, Texas, a town about 40 miles south of Houston. A battery of this size could power around 20,000 homes on a hot summer day.

But, so far, Tesla has only sold Megapacks to other companies, and Tesla has not tried to sell directly to consumers. That would change, according to his record.

Despite its long association with oil and natural gas, Texas has the third highest number of electric vehicles in the country, behind California and Florida, according to recent statistics from Electek. Texas also generates a significant portion of electrical energy through solar and wind power, energy sources that require electricity storage because they are not always available. Texas generates by far the largest amount of electricity from wind power of any state and is second behind California for the amount of electricity from solar power, according to the EIA.

But its power grid suffered a massive blackout due to a winter storm in February. Part of the problem was that Texas is the only state in the continental United States not connected to the national grid, which would allow it to tap into the electricity supplies of other states in times of crisis. Some power companies have since filed for bankruptcy.

CEO Elon Musk referred to the need for more electricity storage if Texas utilities are to avoid the problems of last winter.

“In Texas there was a peak demand for electricity and… because the grid doesn’t have the capacity to buffer the electricity, they have to shut off the electricity. There is no energy storage, ”he said on a call with investors in April. He didn’t mention Megapack on that call, but suggested that greater adoption of solar panels in homes and Tesla’s powerwalls would help provide the necessary grid buffer in Texas and elsewhere.

This is Tesla and Musk’s latest move to bring more attention to Texas. Tesla is already building its second US auto plant outside of Austin and Musk has officially moved his residence to Texas, he revealed in December. Last year, during a fight over COVID-19 public health restrictions that Musk opposed, he threatened to move Tesla’s headquarters to Texas, but he never followed through on that threat. .

In addition, its rocket company SpaceX also has a strong presence in South Texas, including a sprawling manufacturing facility, launch and landing pads, where the company builds and tests early versions of Starship, its gargantuan rocket. that Musk hopes to someday be used to transport people to the moon and to Mars.

© Copyright 2021 CNN. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. CBS SF contributed to this report

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