Tesla wants to sell electricity in Texas

According to an application submitted with Texas power regulators earlier this month, Elon Musk's Tesla is moving beyond electric vehicles, solar panels, and energy storage and wants to now supply electricity directly to customers. The application was initially covered by Energy Choice Matters.

The application, which was filed with the Texas Public Utilities Commission on August 16, is a request to become a "retail electric provider" (REP) through its company Tesla Energy Ventures. REPs buy wholesale electricity from power providers and sell it to customers in Texas' deregulated, unique power market. On the open market, there are now over 100 REPs.

Separate applications were also filed in Texas for multiple utility-scale batteries, including a 250-megawatt battery near its Gigafactory outside Austin and a 100-megawatt project outside Houston. These projects are unrelated to Tesla's efforts to become an electric provider but taken together, they reflect a bold vision for the company's energy operations.

Tesla may not only sell electricity to clients, but it could also help them sell extra energy to the grid, which would be created by Tesla Powerwall or Solar panel products. It's one way to get closer to Musk's goal of turning every home into a distributed power plant.

The PUC's latest request comes only six months after an unexpected winter storm knocked out major portions of Texas' electrical grid for days, leaving millions without power amid a stretch of sub-freezing days. After the hurricane, a few REPs stopped down, causing wholesale electricity rates to skyrocket to $9,000 per megawatt-hour (the seasonal normal is roughly $50).

Tesla Energy Ventures informed PUC authorities that it will use the company's existing energy division to assist promote sales, as well as the company's mobile app and website. According to the application, “[Tesla Energy Ventures] will specifically target its existing customers who own Tesla products and sell the retail offer to customers through the mobile application and Tesla website.” “In addition to the Tesla mobile app and website, the applicant's current ‘Tesla Energy Customer Support' organisation will be educated to assist clients in their customer acquisition efforts.”

Tesla Energy Ventures' president is listed as Ana Stewart. She has been the director of regulatory credit trading at Tesla since 2017. She formerly worked at SolarCity, which was acquired by Tesla.