Tesla has filed to enter Texas’s deregulated energy market and become an official electricity retailer.
For a change, the company sees an opportunity not to disrupt but to fix and stabilize the market.
After winter storms earlier this year, the Texas grid experienced widespread blackouts, leading to more than a hundred deaths and billions in costs.
Many experts blamed Texas’s mostly deregulated electricity market with over 120 players, which were not prepared to handle the situation.
Five electricity retailers have since left the Texas energy market amid the disaster, and there are opportunities for other energy companies to sweep in.
Tesla is one of them.
Texas Monthly reports that Tesla has officially filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to enter the market:
“The idiosyncratic serial entrepreneur who reinvented rocketry and juiced up the electric-car business has established a new subsidiary of Tesla, called Tesla Energy Ventures, that filed in mid-August with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to sell electricity on the retail market.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously reported that the company has seen an important surge in demand for Powerwalls in Texas following the grid’s failure earlier this year.
As an electricity retailer in the state, Tesla could create a virtual power plant out of its Powerwalls and solar energy systems installed at customers’ homes to deliver electricity.
In recent months, Tesla has been developing its own virtual power plant in California.
In its filing with the Texas PUC, Tesla also confirms plans for two massive battery systems to be deployed in the state.
We previously reported on a Tesla Megapack project with a planned capacity of over 100 MW to be deployed in Angleton, near Houston.
Now the filing also confirms that Tesla plans an even bigger 250 MW battery near Gigafactory Texas in Austin.
Tesla is going to be able to offer energy storage services to help stabilize the grid with those battery systems.
Between those two big projects and a ramp-up of solar and Powerwall installations in the state, Tesla could quickly become an important player in Texas’s energy market.
It’s part of Musk’s vision for Tesla Energy to become a distributed global utility, and it could even outgrow its automotive business.
The PUC is expected to make a decision on Tesla’s application by November.