Patrick T. Fallon | Reuters
The app follows the startup of a large battery built by Tesla in Angleton, Texas (near Houston), where it aims to connect a 100 megawatt energy storage system to the grid. Texas Monthly first reported on the request, submitted by a wholly owned subsidiary of Tesla called Tesla Energy Ventures.
Tesla has also built several large-scale energy storage systems around the world, including one east of Los Angeles, another underway in Monterey, California, and two in Australia – one in Geelong, Victoria and one other in Adelaide, South Australia.
However, Tesla did not operate as a retail electricity supplier where it sets up these systems. Instead, the large batteries that Tesla built tend to help other companies with energy production, storage, and consumption.
A cold snap gripped Texas in February this year, stranding millions of residents without electricity or water for days.
It later emerged that state lawmakers and regulators, including the Public Utilities Commission and the Texas Railroad Commission (which is supposed to regulate the oil and gas industry) had ignored or relaxed the requirements to correct and prevent further vulnerabilities. in the Texas power grid. After previous power outages, experts had called for such efforts as sealing installations and turbines used to generate electricity with proper insulation and heaters.
The Texas grid is isolated from the rest of the United States, so transmission of electricity from other states was not available to provide relief to those stuck in the cold. Instead, the Texas grid is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, a nonprofit group that essentially programs the flow of electricity to more than 25 million homes in Texas.
During the Texas blackout crisis, Tesla CEO Elon Musk launched ERCOT on Twitter, writing that the group “did not win this R.”
Musk’s name was not directly on the Tesla Energy Ventures app. At the head of this subsidiary, in the role of chairman, is Ana Stewart, director of regulatory credit operations at Tesla.
As CNBC previously reported, Musk’s electric car and solar panel company has been able to increase its margins through the sale of green credits over the years. For example, in the second quarter of 2020, regulatory credit sales exceeded the company’s free cash flow and represented more than four times Tesla’s $ 104 million net profit for the quarter.
According to his resume, which was part of the candidacy, Stewart has helped Tesla withdraw more than $ 3.8 billion in regulatory credits since 2017.
If it gets approval as a retail electricity supplier in Texas, Tesla Energy Ventures will use employees from Tesla’s energy division – the same that sells solar roofs – to increase sales and provide a customer service in the state. Tesla’s app also notes that it will be working with Engie Energy Marketing on the planning.