Texas’ ERCOT approved an Aggregated Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Pilot Project. What challenges lie ahead?

Texas is on track to see a much stronger energy grid. ERCOT’s Board of Directors approved an Aggregated Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Pilot Project. 

This article is about,

  • ERCOT’s support for the powerful Aggregated DER Pilot Project
  • Challenges:  Get competitive power providers to enroll customers, complete ERCOT approvals by January 2023, and send Megawatts to the grid by February 2023 and more!
Tesla Megapacks, Angleton, Texas. Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

When I first participated in a Workshop about Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) hosted by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT or Grid Operator) in May 2022, I learned Tesla created a successful VPP Pilot Program involving 64 Powerwall owners.

Source:  https://www.tesla.com/support/energy/powerwall/own/ercot-demo (accessed 10/23/2022)

Tesla presented the findings of that program to ERCOT in the VPP Workshop, and provided detailed data to ERCOT’s oversight agency, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (Commission) about the ability of small batteries to “paint over” the exact reliability signals provided by ERCOT and perform to the highest accuracy with those signals. I wrote about VPPs last June, “Tesla built a demonstration test in which 64 Tesla Powerwall battery owners participated in providing energy as an aggregate. The demo showed impressive performance, proving that there were no technical blocks to these owners providing power to the Texas grid.” 

Both ERCOT and utilities submitted filings on Tesla’s proposal to quickly integrate VPPs in an existing market program called Aggregated Load Resources.  With these stakeholders asking for a brand new market program to transition VPPs to the grid, and Tesla having proved the technology was ready and available today, the Commission supported an official Pilot that would allow companies like Tesla to actually get their customers compensated for the Megawatts they sent to the grid.  

ERCOT’s Landmark Support for Aggregated DER Pilot Project

Now Tesla is part of a much larger Pilot Program.  I was invited to make public comments on Oct 18 before the vote on this proposal, giving me 5 minutes to talk to people involved in decision-making at ERCOT. You can view my comments here

When the Board of Directors at ERCOT voted unanimously to approve the Aggregated Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Pilot Project, I knew we were witnessing history! 

This opens the way to allow all energy providers in Texas to choose to participate to aggregate energy stored in their customer’s Tesla Powerwalls, and deliver that energy to the grid during times of peak need.

Enrolling customers who have Tesla Powerwalls into VPPs also makes entire fleets of electricity customers smarter consumers in the days and hours before a weather crisis:  with more customers ready and able to switch from grid-sourced power to self-produced power or vice versa, automatically doing so in a VPP in real-time, responding to what the grid needs, means utilities will struggle less to find the demand reductions they need to keep critical feeders and neighborhood lights on.  

Tesla Powerwalls preparing for anticipated storm. credit James Locke.

CHALLENGES

The Aggregated Distributed Energy Resource Task Force (ADER Task Force) has an important responsibility. The ADER Task Force met monthly to assist ERCOT in developing the VPP program.  Members of the public are encouraged to participate. The Task Force is formed of 20 experts selected by the Commission and will convene for at least three years to build a strong DER pilot program. Jason Ryan is the Chair and Arushi Sharma Frank is the Vice Chair.

Pictured:  Jason Ryan, Arushi Sharma Frank speak at an ADER Task Force monthly Workshop in Texas, open to the public. The co-sponsor of the ADER Task Force, Commissioner Will McAdams joins them for comments. 

ADER Task Force has monthly Workshops open to the public. The 1st Workshop was on Aug 17, the 2nd Workshop on Sept 12, and the 3rd Workshop was on Oct 12. 

Get Megawatts in the Market by February 2023

At the first ADER Task Force Workshop, Arushi explained the goal to get Megawatts in the Texas market, “One of the things that I want to mention is that the first goal for us as a team is to figure out what we do to get something done by the end of the year that will allow us to just get Megawatts in the market. All of the objectives we have are about studying the impact on the distribution system, studying reliability value, studying cost allocation, and studying the effectiveness of VPPs providing service to the grid. We’re not going to have that data if we don’t get the Megawatts in.” (The end-year goal has since moved to Feb 2023)

Phase One – ADER Pilot Program

The ADER Task Force is delivering on several objectives laid out in the sponsoring Texas Commission’s Memo.   These topics present challenges to overcome and also represent core success metrics that the ADER Task Force wants to build over the next three years.  

The ADER Task Force meetings have included materials shared with the public at every meeting (you can find them in Texas PUC Project Number 53911).  In the first of many quarterly reports the Task Force will file publicly, they shared challenges and insights that needed to be gained in “Phase 1” of the ADER Pilot Program: 

“1. Assess the operational benefits and challenges of ADERs and address those challenges to allow meaningful use of ADERs; 
2. Understand the impact of having ancillary services and energy delivered by ADERs and assess how ADERs can best be used to support reliability; 
3. Assess challenges to incentivizing competition and attracting broad ADER participation while ensuring adequate customer protections are in place;
4. Allow Distribution Service Providers (DSPs), the Commission, and others to study distribution system impacts of ADERs which inject to the grid; 
5. Evaluate the impacts to transmission system congestion management associated with the dispatch and settlement of ADERs at a zonal level; and 
6. Identify potential pilot project enhancements and study the need for and benefit of transitioning distribution-level aggregations to different levels of more granular dispatch and settlement and evaluate more complex use cases and business models.”

Source: Page 5, first ADER Task Force Quarterly Report, available at https://interchange.puc.texas.gov/Documents/53911_18_1241809.PDF 

Technical Challenges

In the October Workshop, Arushi explained some additional behind-the-scenes challenges faced that I was not aware of, related to integrating various distributed technologies customers have with multiple energy providers or utility systems.   “It is hard actually to do third-party integration for anything – I mean we still have iPhones and Androids with separate chargers – we can’t just plug one charger cable into the other product,  and the same is true for the most sophisticated inverter-based technology out there today. We do not have universal interoperability as a standard, and the closest thing that we’ve come to it as an industry, at least in this country, is 2030.5 and that is a big struggle [to implement] for OEMs and manufacturers of inverter- based products.”

In the early days of developing the ADER Pilot, Arushi also published a technical note explaining core challenges and guiding principles under which Texas will learn from by doing its first VPP program.  Those included: (i) understanding the impact of carrying ancillary services (grid reliability services like balancing demand and supply in real-time) on the distribution system (the low voltage lines carrying electricity from consumer homes) (ii) getting competition in VPP programs in competitive electricity choice areas of Texas (iii) understanding if there will ever be enough VPP batteries out there to cause congestion related to “exporting” energy back to the grid and how ERCOT will handle that (iv) how to help customers understand their compensation and ways to participate under new VPP programs, and (v) ensure that VPP programs can evolve and scale over time but remain simple and easy to understand for customers. 

CONCLUSION

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has a huge task, and that is to manage the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers — representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. ERCOT’s Board voted unanimously to approve the Aggregated Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Pilot Project, ushering in a new era for sustainable energy in Texas!  But, there are challenges and here are just a few,

  • Get competitive power providers to enroll customers.  This process should be simple and easy to understand for all customers.
  • Complete ERCOT approvals by January 2023
  • Send Megawatts to the grid by February 2023 

This article went into great detail and will be a great reference to anyone interested in either observing or participating in the growth of sustainable energy in Texas and beyond. 

Austin, Texas. Dawn of Liberty. Goddess of Liberty at Sunrise. Over the Texas State Capitol Building. Shot with special permission. Christopher Sherman

I would love to share four more interesting articles with you that relate to Tesla Energy!

What is ERCOT? The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers — representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. 

Article Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – October 23, 2022. All Rights Reserved. “My goal as an author is to support Tesla and Elon Musk in both making lives better on earth for humans and becoming a space-faring civilization.” – Gail Alfar Header Image is Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

As Batteries begin to replace fossil fuel power plants, what are 4 challenges to overcome?

Tesla Megapacks at Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Credit: Tesla

You are living in the early stages of the transition to clean energy.  In the coming years, expect most gas and coal peaker plants to close.  These will be replaced with battery storage of mostly solar energy. 

This article is about four challenges that will be overcome for this incredible transition to succeed.

UPDATE: Elon Musk saw this article on Twitter, and replied to it on July 25, 2022, calling it a “Good article.” I hope that you’ll enjoy it as well!

#1 Increasing Supply of Refined Lithium

There is currently not enough refined Lithium, and this provides a challenge in the transition to clean energy. Tesla is working to scale battery production with refined Lithium at Giga Nevada and the new Megafactory in Lathrop, California.

At the Q2 2022 Earnings call, Elon Musk emphasized the need for more refined Lithium, the component needed for batteries.  Elon said, 

“I’d like to, once again, urge entrepreneurs to enter the lithium refining business.”  Elon Musk

Elon Musk revealed in a recent interview with Johnna Crider that extremely pure battery-grade lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate is needed to prevent breakdown in the battery cell, 

“For example, with lithium, it’s more lithium refinement than it is the actual mining. So you better take the ore that contains lithium, and you’ve got to refine it and get it to battery-grade lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate. And it has to be extremely pure. Otherwise, you could have a breakdown in the cell.” Elon Musk

#2 Scaling Battery Manufacturing

Scaling battery production is a constant challenge as processes must always be flexible enough to improve.

Building batteries faster and at larger scale will occur in order for our world to transition to clean energy. Tesla is addressing this challenge and currently building batteries ranging in size from 13.5 kWh Powerwall to 3000 kWh (3 MWh) Megapack.  Large and small batteries are needed to combine with others to form massive power plants, replacing old-style gas and coal energy with solar. 

Tesla Energy Engineer Mike Snyder speaks against the backdrop of 256 Tesla Megapack battery units on 33 concrete slabs at Moss Landing

Mike Synder of Tesla Energy, spoke at the opening of Moss Landing Elkhorn Battery last month, saying Megafactory Lathrop will produce ~ 40 GW hours of Megapacks a year,

“The Megafactory fully ramped can produce up to 40 GW hours of Megapacks per year.  For context, 40 Gigawatt hours is approximately 50 of the projects you see behind us here, being produced each year here in California and really around the world.”

#3 Working with Existing Infrastructure to Streamline Clean Energy Installations

Tesla Megapacks, Angleton, Texas. cr: Tesla

It is difficult to integrate the existing older infrastructure seamlessly with Tesla’s new hardware and software system, and it has to be done.  Moss Landing near Monterey, California is a location known for decades as exclusively a gas peaker plant site. Thus, it contains physical infrastructure needed to wire energy to customers. Snyder spoke about this challenge,

“There’s a lot of work and figuring out how to integrate these large projects into our existing infrastructure.

As the projects become larger and larger and more powerful those problems become more nuanced and more complicated to solve, and we all have to work to do that together.

Its about landing the wires here at a critical substation, like Elkhorn, or it’s about assessing the grid impacts at different interconnection points in the grid.

All of those problems become much more interesting for engineers and much more complicated to solve, and we need to be doing that together.

And really, as we grow we need to collectively assess how best to leverage such a flexible, fast-acting, bidirectional resource like we’ve never really had. It’s truly an exciting time to be in the industry!”

#4 Updating Local Policy to Encourage Virtual Power Plants

As Tesla Energy works to meet the demand for battery storage systems with Megapacks, another way to meet demand is through aggregating together Tesla Powerwalls that individual people like you and I own to form Virtual Power Plants.

It takes time and effort to change old ways of thinking at state and local levels.  Tesla’s Energy Policy team is working in my home state of Texas to help get virtual power plants online.  I wrote about that last month in “Tesla’s Texas Virtual Power Plant ASAP.”  Although the process might seem slow as molasses in wintertime, eventually it will happen, and there are things you can do to support these efforts! (I list some at the end of this article).

It was a change in policy for PG&E to allow ~1500 California residents who own home Tesla Powerwall batteries to volunteer to join together to form a virtual power plant.  PG&E announced they will “call load management events for participating customers, directing their battery to discharge when there is high demand for electricity.” 

A positive policy change led to the “Emergency Load Reduction Program [ELRP]” which aims to discharge stored battery energy to the grid during high electricity demand. Tesla Powerwall owners are the foundation of this program. According to a news release, the ELRP is managed by PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison. 

These programs and similar ones will eventually be seen in many states and in countries around the world over time.

CONCLUSION

  • Having a constant and reliable source of refined grade lithium is a challenge.  This must be achieved in order to scale battery manufacturing.
  • Tesla Energy leader Mike Synder voiced the challenge of working with existing infrastructure.   “There’s a lot of work and figuring out how to integrate these large projects into our existing infrastructure. As the projects become larger and larger and more powerful those problems become more nuanced and more complicated to solve, and we all have to work to do that together.” 
  • Local policies are a challenge.  Transitioning to clean energy means giving up the old ways of relying on gas peaker plants.  Tesla Energy Policy team aims to continue to work with local policy leaders in order to speed up the transition to sustainable energy.

Here are a few ways you can help:

If you own a Tesla Powerwall, sign up to participate in a pilot program if it is available in your state.  Currently, Texas has a three-year pilot program in the planning stages!

Join the Bros. for Decarb. Their motto is “just a group of Bros who care about decarbonizing the global economy as fast, cheap and reliable as possible.”  They can be found on twitter and they also sell t-shirts with LFDECARB to subtly remind us that the Southeast is often ignored in DECARB.  All their profits go to @energyalabama

Photo in downtown Austin, Texas by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

I would love to share a few more interesting articles with you that relate to Tesla Energy!

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blog post was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. July 24, 2022. If you can support this blog financially, info is at “How You Can Support.”

Elon Musk: This is Part of Master Plan Part 3

Welcome back to What’s Up Tesla! I’m celebrating today with you the fantastic opportunity I had to meet Elon Musk at Gigafactory Texas this past week.  I was invited to be present during Johnna Crider’s interview for her podcast, “Getting Stoned: Interview With Elon Musk.” So let’s have a slice of Pecan Pie, and enjoy! 

Elon Musk explained details about Master Plan Part 3 and making sure the power stays on in an easy-to-understand way. I am excited to share his words with you in this article!

3 Pillars to a Sustainable Energy Future

In the interview, Elon Musk said

“There are three pillars to a sustainable energy future. 

One is electric transport, the other is sustainable power generation, primarily through solar and wind, and then the third is stationary battery energy storage because the sun doesn’t shine all the time and the wind doesn’t blow all the time. 

You’ve got to store the energy while the sun is shining and the wind is blowing in the stationary batteries and then those batteries provide power to the grid. 

We can have a fully sustainable energy earth just with those three things. 

Tesla is working on all those three things.”

“There are three pillars to a sustainable energy future.” – Elon Musk

“The stationary battery part is a big deal and we are ramping that up. 

It’s going to be a very big part of our business long term.  It’s a very important part of the total energy solution for earth. 

Our estimate is that you need about 300 Terawatt hours of energy storage or 300,000 Gigawatt hours.  Other people may come up with different numbers but in order to fully transition the earth including all electricity, transport and heating, I think it’s probably around that number. 

So, that’s a lot of batteries that need to get made.  And if you assume a battery life, before it gets recycled, of 20 years roughly, then you need 15 Terawatt hours a year of annual production at steady state.  So, 15,000 Gigawatt hours a year.

Our current production is much less than that.  I think we might be approaching 1000 Gigawatt hours or thereabouts at this point.”

Giga Texas Battery Cell Production [credit: Tesla]

Master Plan Part 3

“And this is like my, sort of, my Masterplan Part 3. It’s about scaling. How do we scale?

How do we get to that fully sustainable energy economy?

And what tonnage do we need of what materials?

And what is maybe the best way to get all of those materials and turn them into batteries?

But the fundamental governor of the rate at which we can transition to sustainability is the rate at which we can grow the output of lithium-ion batteries.”

100% Renewable Multi-Customer Microgrid Is Now Operational at PG&E credit: PG&E

In response to Johnna’s comment that the weakest part of Texas is the grid, and here comes Tesla trying to strengthen that weakest part, Elon replied

“The batteries are helpful even without sustainable energy because they can sort of load balance the grid so if you have power spikes the batteries can absorb the power spike. 

If it dips or there’s a drop in power or an increase in power, like power fluctuations, the batteries can smooth it out. 

And so the Tesla Megapack and Powerwalls and stuff can be really helpful for stabilizing the grid even in the absence of sustainable energy.”

Making Sure the Power Stays on in Texas

I asked Elon Musk if he could talk a little about Distributed Energy Resources [DERs] and if Gigafactory Texas could be protected in the event of an emergency, Elon replied,

“Well, I think this is going to be in terms of batteries, a combination of large batteries, sort of utility-scale batteries with very big installations. 

Like we just did a big thing with PG&E at Moss Landing in California which is going to be very important for maintaining power in California.  There is a number of other installations happening. 

And then at the local level, you’ve got the Powerwalls that collectively can stabilize the grid within a neighborhood. 

So, the combination of centralized batteries with Megapack and distributed batteries at homes and businesses with powerwall working together can have a very positive effect in making sure the power stays on.” – Elon Musk

Tesla Megapacks at Moss Landing with PG&E [credit PG&E]

I stated that I think it brings people hope when we think about how much people depend on energy for just about everything.  Elon replied,

Absolutely, energy is the foundation of the economy.  Civilization would crumble immediately if we didn’t have it.  There would be mass starvation. Terrible. – Elon Musk

Conclusion

Elon Musk wastes no time explaining that Tesla is working on the three pillars to a sustainable energy future. These are electric transport, sustainable power generation, and stationary battery energy storage. Elon’s Master Plan Part 3 aims to quickly solve the problem of how to get to a sustainable energy economy. Elon said, “the fundamental governor of the rate at which we can transition to sustainability is the rate at which we can grow the output of lithium-ion batteries.” Energy is the foundation of the economy. Elon stated, “the combination of centralized batteries with Megapack and distributed batteries at homes and businesses with powerwall working together can have a very positive effect in making sure the power stays on.”

My thoughts

My impression of Elon Musk is that he’s extremely focused and dedicated. His attitude was one of genuine kindness and enthusiasm about doing the interview. Several times he also expressed a sense of urgency about wanting to get to work with the Tesla Team at Giga Texas that day.

The conference room the interview was in gives you a floor-to-ceiling view of the inside of the gigafactory [see below]. Factory sounds were present, including Model Y horns beeping beyond the glass. We are all a witness to the beginning of something very big. Gigafactory Texas will soon produce an unprecedented number of Model Y, batteries, and Cybertrucks at a steady, fast pace.

Many people are interested in learning more about energy storage, so to have the chance to ask Elon a question about Distributed Energy Resources [DERs] and keeping Gigafactory Texas’ power on was a real honor!

What would you ask Elon Musk if you had the chance?

Gigafactory Texas as seen from the interview conference room. [credit Gail Alfar, All Rights Reserved, June 25, 2022]

Want to read more excellent articles? I suggest…

You can subscribe to this blog here, and you can listen to the entire interview with Elon Musk here and on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blog post was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. July 3, 2022

Tesla’s Texas Virtual Power Plant ASAP

Tesla Solar, Powerwalls, and Home Charging [credit: Tesla]

Hello and welcome back to “What’s Up Tesla.” I’m excited that the kids are out of school, and that summer has arrived.  Here in Texas, it seems every summer I hear a similar sentiment, “This one is going to be a hot one!”  This summer Texas could meet power demands better because Tesla is offering ERCOT an immediate solution.

Some weeks ago, Texans were warned by ERCOT, “With unseasonably hot weather driving record demand across Texas, ERCOT continues to work closely with the power industry to make sure Texans have the power they need. This afternoon, six power generation facilities tripped offline resulting in the loss of approximately 2,900 MW of electricity. At this time, all generation resources available are operating. We’re asking Texans to conserve power when they can by setting their thermostats to 78-degrees or above and avoiding the usage of large appliances (such as dishwashers, washers, and dryers) during peak hours.”

During this hot summer, Tesla is fully prepared to step in with a smart solution to the problem.  I learned details about this during a Workshop I attended on May 31. “Tesla Virtual Power Plant Workshop, Related to OBDRR041” was hosted by ERCOT and led by leaders at Tesla Energy.

Tesla Powerwall owners are an important and untapped resource for energy

Tesla battery storage at a home in Texas. Credit: MojoSusan

Tesla Powerall owners are an important but untapped resource for energy. Minor changes to ERCOT’s current practices can ensure a stable grid in Texas. Owners could act as an aggregate source of power, forming a Virtual Power Plant. Tesla built a demonstration test in which 64 Tesla Powerwall battery owners participated in providing energy as an aggregate. The demo showed impressive performance, proving that there were no technical blocks to these owners providing power to the Texas grid. 

“Nothing in Texas today lets homes behave like a hive mind and deliver clean MWs 24x 7 to the grid.” – Arushi Sharma Frank, Tesla Policy/Energy

Tesla is requesting for ERCOT to allow all interested Powerwall owners to contribute to the Texas grid as a combined cluster. All that is needed are minor changes to ERCOT’s current practices. Tesla’s slide presentation for their “Virtual Power Plant Workshop, Related to OBDRR041” was well done and informative.  I am sharing some of it here:

Problem Statement
Texas needs all available, affordable, dispatchable electric capacity/resources mobilized to address grid reliability challenges
Distributed energy resources are available today, but are unrealized dispatchable assets to ERCOT

Short-Term Solution
Minor changes to an existing, unutilized ERCOT market design concept developed 9 years ago, could immediately unlock grid reliability services from small distributed energy resources that can be dispatched as an "aggregation"

Tesla proved that it can bring grid services value to ERCOT with volunteer customers.
Tesla shows that distributed systems can respond in minutes or even seconds (faster than most gas or coal power plants).
These aggregated resources (batteries in this case) could also provide primary frequency response. The response is “immediate and automatic” to stabilize the grid.

In Summary

Tesla is offering a proven solution to the fragile Texas grid, currently operated by ERCOT. Tesla proved that their Virtual Power Plant can work extremely well. Their VPP can act fast, respond to load demand, and thus ensure that Texans’ energy needs are met. All that is needed is a small change in ERCOTS’ current practices for this to be a reality.

Tesla Powerwalls keep the lights on for Hannukah for one family. Credit: u/rocher

My thoughts

Tesla’s powerful energy software has precise capabilities to deliver stored energy to power a homeowner’s home and electric car, keep power stored up and also send energy to most local utilities for their use.  However, as Arushi Sharma Frank, Tesla Policy/Energy, explained clearly via twitter after the workshop, “Nothing in Texas today lets homes behave like a hive mind and deliver clean MWs 24x 7 to the grid.”  She explained that the main thing slowing down Tesla from unleashing this powerful lifesaving technology is “technical acrobatics.”

I listened to some of these “technical acrobatics” during the workshop, and as the minutes wore on, I was invited to comment.

I took the opportunity to explain that as a Texas-Registered Nurse, I am in the business of caring for families, some of whom were deeply affected by the last severe power outage in February 2021.  I explained that since Tesla has already demonstrated that they can provide power reliably through volunteer Tesla Powerwall owners, there should be no delay in allowing full participation as soon as possible. As a healthcare provider, I advocate for people in need. Having power is important to people’s health.

If you would like a closer look at Tesla’s excellent 24-Slide Presentation, the link is here. My article featuring Texas homeowners’ experience with Tesla Solar and Powerwalls is here.

Austin, Texas. credit unplash

Gail Alfar, [Edited by Sarah Alfar] Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blogpost was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. June 4, 2022

Tesla Autobidder

Hello! Welcome back to What’s Up Tesla! As a Tesla owner and supporter, I am constantly learning about the incredible creations of a company I once just associated with nice cars and solar products. Though it was confusing at first, I have come to an understanding of yet another aspect of Tesla. Autobidder is an amazing piece of software created by the Tesla team. I am excited to share Autobidders’ incredible features with you and explain why it is so important.

Tesla Solar Panels and four Powerwalls [credit: Tesla]

Tesla creates software to optimize battery storage systems. The purpose of Tesla’s Autobidder software is to allow the owner of a Tesla Powerwall to sell their excess power to the grid automatically and at the best price. The software automatically bids a competitive price to a buyer. Tesla explains Autobidder,

Autobidder provides independent power producers, utilities, and capital partners the ability to autonomously monetize battery assets. Autobidder is a real-time trading and control platform that provides value-based asset management and portfolio optimization, enabling owners and operators to configure operational strategies that maximize revenue according to their business objectives and risk preferences.

Autobidder is already being successfully deployed in South Australia at the Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR). This market bidding has added competition to drive down energy prices. Tesla Powerwalls and Megapacks are much more valuable assets to their owners if they are managed by the Tesla Autobidder System. Tesla explains it this way,

Batteries are highly flexible assets, but they require smart strategies and software to realize their full value. Autobidder allows owners to realize this value by handling the complex co-optimization required to successfully stack multiple value streams simultaneously, including:

Wholesale markets, including energy, ancillary services and capacity

Transmission & Distribution-level grid services

Renewable firming and shaping

Bilateral contractual arrangements

Other portfolio needs

Telsa Megapacks and Solar [credit: Tesla]

“Autobidder operates at every scale: from aggregations of behind-the-meter residential systems to 100 Mega Watt utility-scale installations” – Tesla

Example of Tesla Autobidder Software in action [credit: Tesla]

Tesla Ecosystem Includes Autobidder

The Tesla 2021 Impact Report explained how Autobidder is part of the Tesla ecosystem,

“We are designing and manufacturing a complete energy and transportation ecosystem. We both develop the technology behind this ecosystem and focus on the affordability of the products that comprise it. We seek to achieve this through our R&D and software development efforts as well as through our continuous drive to develop advanced manufacturing capabilities.” – Tesla

My thoughts

I expect the electricity grid in my state of Texas to improve rapidly when ERCOT allows residential battery storage to create temporary microgrids to help in emergencies like tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather conditions. When Tesla Powerwall customers in Texas and beyond can participate in the free market and sell power, families will stay safer including yours!

If this topic interests you, consider attending a workshop through ERCOT hosted by Tesla, “Tesla Virtual Power Plant Workshop Related to OBDRR041 by Webex Only.” Date/Time: May 31, 10:00 am. If you are unable to attend, the meeting should be available in the archives here.

Downtown Austin, Texas [credit: Jeremy Bank]

Gail Alfar, [Edited by Sarah Alfar] Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. May 29, 2022