It has filed with the Texas Public Utility Commission to generate electricity and sell it directly to the public. Details about its exact plans are not included in the application, and Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. But the company said in its filing it plans to sell electricity directly to consumers, with a focus on those who already own Tesla cars.
“Battery storage is transforming the global electric grid and is an increasingly important element of the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” it said in a 2019 blog post. “To match global demand for massive battery storage projects like Hornsdale, Tesla designed and engineered a new battery product specifically for utility-scale projects.”
It’s a growing business. Tesla has said it is investing more of its available cash in its Megapack. Utilities have reported plans to install over 10,000 megawatts of additional large-scale battery power capacity from 2021 through 2023 from all manner of battery suppliers, according to the US Energy Information Administration. That’s up from only 1,650 megawatts of large-scale capacity in place at the end of last year.
But, so far, Tesla has sold Megapacks only to other companies and Tesla has not tried to sell directly to consumers. That would change, according to its filing.
Despite its long association with oil and natural gas, Texas has the third most EVs in the country, behind only California and Florida, according to recent statistics from Electrek. Texas also generates a significant portion of electrical power through solar and wind power, sources of power that need to have storage of electricity since they are not constantly available. Texas generates by far the greatest amount of electricity from wind power of any state and is second only to California for the amount of electricity coming from to solar power, according to the EIA.
CEO Elon Musk made reference to the need for more electrical storage if utilities in Texas are to avoid the problems of this past winter.
“In Texas, there was a peak power demand, and … because the grid lacks the ability to buffer the power, they have to shut down power. There’s no power storage,” he said in a call with investors in April. He did not mention Megapack on that call, but suggested that the greater adoption of solar panels on homes and Tesla’s Powerwalls would help to provide that buffer needed for the grid in Texas and elsewhere.
— CNN Business’ Jackie Wattles contributed to this report