Texas may soon get one more electricity supplier after Tesla filed an application with the state’s Public Utility Commission to sell power directly to consumers, CNBC reports.
Earlier this year, in March, Bloomberg reported that the luxury EV maker that doubles as energy storage developer as well was secretly building a massive battery storage facility right outside Houston. The more than 100 MW facility, according to the report, could power some 20,000 households “on a hot summer day”.
This is not the first megabattery Tesla builds but the document filed with the PUC is the first application by the company to sell electricity and it suggests Texas may have become a potentially lucrative destination for investments in electricity distribution.
The reason is the February Freeze that wreaked havoc on the Lone Star state, exposing its electricity market as excessively vulnerable to sudden and extreme weather events. Following the crisis, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway presented a proposal to Texas for the construction of 10 GW worth of new natural gas-fired power generation capacity.
Tesla’s Elon Musk, true to himself, took to Twitter at the time, where he mocked the Electric Reliability Council of Texas for “not earning that R”. Soon after, Musk relocated to Texas, and his various companies are expanding their operations there, Bloomberg noted in its report on the battery construction.
With the Texas grid not connected to the rest of the United States, the state could certainly benefit from a boost in the “R” in ERCOT’s name. A megabattery is one way of doing this, although just one megabattery would be nowhere near enough, in addition to new generation capacity. Indeed, Tesla has plans for another battery, with a capacity of 250 MW at its Texa gigafactory, currently in construction.
Texas Monthly, which first reported about Tesla’s application for the Texas retail electricity market, noted there were already 120 players on this market but Musk’s venture could stand out if it combines its expertise in home battery storage and renewable energy with its sales prowess.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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