Ever since its headquarters was moved to Texas, Tesla has been lobbying to include more participants in the energy market. It is working on changing the market rules so anyone including residential customers, could participate in the state’s energy market more effectively. The change comes along as Tesla is focused on selling it’s solar and Powerwalls.
Tesla’s US Energy Markets Policy Lead, Arushi Sharma Frank said on LinkedIn. “So basically, it’s horrendously hot in large parts of the country too early in the year compared to past years. The early heat waves are a huge challenge for electric grid operators, and that’s on top of other climate concerns. Home solar and battery customers have been providing their extra clean energy capacity back to constrained grids daily, around the world, and have gotten paid for it. We’re trying to enable that in Texas/ERCOT this year. I keep hearing how that will take 4-6 years and it’s like, what a joke! Let’s do it now and figure out something that doesn’t take years and cost the earth.”
Tesla filed a request for a rule change, with an OBDRR. It was filed with an organization operating Texas’s electrical grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). If accepted, it will enable customers with solar to bid on the extra capacity to have electric utilities. According to the filing, “This OBDRR will enable Retail Electric Providers (REPs) with Customers with the behind-the-meter controllable generation, energy storage or other technologies to provide bids to buy in Security-Constrained Economic Dispatch (SCED) and participate in Non-Spinning Reserve (Non-Spin). ”
Bringing the change
As Sharma Frank wrote, Tesla is trying to expedite the process, and it argues that it will unlock megawatts of power. “Tesla asks for a quick consideration by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on this document so that it can launch a retail offer associated with this functionality this year, and thus enable additional megawatts to be procured and dispatched by ERCOT.”
If successful, it should automatically unlock a lot of value for homeowners with solar and/or home batteries, which Tesla has been deploying in Texas. The change could also allow Tesla to operate all its distributed energy assets as a virtual power plant in the state as it does in California. Tesla could combine individual extra capacity with its residential customers to provide grid services and spread the benefits between the customers, thus improving the financial viability of going solar in Texas.