In a bid to enhance its automobile industry, the American EV giant Tesla is currently running a virtual power plant demonstration in Texas to show grid operators the product’s potential.
Last month, the EV giant reported on Tesla lobbying for any homeowner with solar and batteries to participate in Texas’ energy market.
The company was requesting a rule change from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which oversees the state’s electrical grid, that would allow electric companies with customers who have solar and batteries installed behind the meter, such as homeowners, to bid on the extra capacity.
It was speculated at the time that Tesla was looking for a rule change to allow its Powerwall customers in the state to create a virtual power plant. Tesla has indeed started a virtual power plant demonstration in Texas to show ERCOT the value that VPPs can offer to the grid.
According to the firm, around 200 Powerwall owners in the ERCOT ‘North’ area of Texas can volunteer for the program. Participants in the demonstration must agree to allow Tesla to control 80 percent of their Powerwalls’ capacity. To provide grid services, Tesla is packaging that capability with a “fleet of Powerwalls.”
However, no one is being rewarded for those grid services until the rule changes, and since this is a demonstration to support the rule change. For the time being, Tesla is only giving away $40 gift cards to individuals that participate.
Tesla claims that 64 Powerwall owners have already signed up for the VPP demonstration and that the early findings are good. If ERCOT approves the rule change, the same Powerwall owners will be able to participate in Texas’ energy market through the Tesla VPP and get appropriate compensation for their grid services.
It would unleash additional value in residential energy storage, reducing the payback period of household battery packs like the Powerwall while also assisting with grid stabilization in Texas. Tesla hopes to amend the rules before the end of the year.