Tesla Approved for Virtual Power Plant Pilot in Texas

Tesla has been approved by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to begin a “statewide market design pilot” for its Virtual Power Plant (VPP) program, according to statements made by an official on LinkedIn on Sunday (via electrek).

Arushi Sharma Frank, U.S. energy markets policy lead for Tesla, said that the pilot could now go statewide and would allow “small distributed energy resources to provide grid service exports.”

The program will let Tesla Powerwall and solar equipment owners sell energy back to the electrical grid during peak power events, creating what is effectively a giant, distributed battery.

Tesla has wanted to create a VPP in its home state of Texas for some time now, following similar programs worldwide. To do so, Tesla had to work with ERCOT to adjust the rules before the utility operator would let customers sell their own energy.

The news comes just months after Tesla launched a similar VPP pilot in California, for which the company held its first distributed energy events earlier this year. Similar programs have also been rolled out recently in Japan and Australia.

Tesla’s first VPP event in California saw over 2,600 homes provide power back to the electrical grid, while a follow-up event comprised more than 3,600 homes in the distributed battery.

Last year, Tesla was also approved to sell electricity in Texas by the Texas Public Utility Commission, allowing the company’s subsidiary, Tesla Energy Ventures, to become an official utility provider in the state.