Electricity Markets

Tesla Applies To Be A Retail Electric Provider In Texas

Tesla could begin operating as a retail electricity provider (REP) in Texas as soon as Nov. 15 under a recently filed application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT).

The staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas on Aug. 31 said the Aug. 16 application of Tesla Energy Ventures LLC for a retail electric provider certificate was sufficient and set a procedural calendar.

Under that schedule, the deadline to intervene, file intervenor comments, or request a hearing is Sept. 30. The schedule also sets Oct. 15 as the deadline for commission staff to grant final approval or to request a hearing and sets Nov. 15 as the deadline to approve or deny the application.

The filing specifies that Tesla Energy Ventures is seeking REP certification to operate in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) area and not all of Texas. The filing also noted the applicant intends to use shareholder equity and letters of credit to meet the access to capital requirements for retail electric providers.

Tesla Energy Ventures is a whole owned subsidiary of Tesla Energy Operations, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tesla Inc.

In the application, Tesla said its customer acquisition strategy would “target its existing customers that own Tesla products and market the retail offer to customers through the mobile application and Tesla website.” The company also said it plans to use its existing Tesla Energy Customer Support organization, which already provides support to owners of Tesla's residential solar and battery systems, to provide support and guidance to customers in its customer acquisition efforts.

Scheduling of energy delivery will be managed by ENGIE Energy Marketing NA, while energy forecasting would be managed by Tesla Energy Ventures, which said it plans to “leverage forecasting tools, capabilities, and knowledge already in place to support its utility-scale battery storage system in ERCOT as well as its retail offerings and virtual power plant programs operating today in places ranging from Australia, California, Vermont, Germany, and the United Kingdom.”

Tesla is building a “Gigafactory” outside of Austin, Texas, that would manufacture and supply electric vehicles to the eastern United States and is expected to be completed later this year. And, through a subsidiary, Gambit Energy Storage, Tesla is also building a 100 megawatt (MW) energy storage facility in Angleton, Texas, outside of Houston, according to multiple media reports. The project was originally developed by Plus Power.

Tesla has been selling its megapack energy storage technology to utilities, saying they “enable the world's largest energy projects” with 1 gigawatt hour (GWh) of energy capacity.