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Tesla Powerwall Owners In California Can Help Avoid Brownouts — And Get Paid For it

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) has partnered with utility firm PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) to launch a new virtual power plant that will pay Powerwall owners to help boost the electric grid during brownouts in Cal

Benzinga · 06/28/2022 13:58

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has partnered with utility firm PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG) to launch a new virtual power plant that will pay Powerwall owners to help boost the electric grid during brownouts in California, Electrek reported on Thursday.

What Happened: The virtual power plant (VPP) consists of distributed energy storage systems, like Tesla Powerwalls, that can double up as power grid services during shortages. 

In July 2021, Austin, Texas-based Tesla launched the VPP in California. The initiative drew Powerwall owners to join in voluntarily without compensation to let the VPP pull power from their battery packs when the grid needed it.

The Elon Musk-led company has now gone a step further. 

“Opt-in to the Tesla Virtual Power Plant (VPP) with PG&E and your Powerwall will be dispatched when the grid needs emergency support," the company's VPP statement reportedly said.

See Also: Warren Buffett-Backed EV Maker To Soon Supply Batteries To Tesla: Report

What’s On Offer? The pilot planned Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) will pay $2 for every additional kWh that a Powerwall delivers during an event. 

The report estimated that depending on the events and the number of Powerwalls homeowners have, they could earn anywhere from $10 to $60 per event or even more for bigger systems.

Tesla also said the partnership with PG&E would help stabilize California’s grid during emergencies and maintain energy security, among other benefits.

"Virtual Power Plants are an essential part of California’s clean energy future and a valuable resource for supporting grid reliability," said PG&E spokesman Paul Doherty. "PG&E has had VPPs in some form for the past 15 years, and we continue actively integrating VPP resources (such as smart thermostats and batteries) into our energy supply portfolio."

Doherty notes that Tesla’s participation in PG&E’s Emergency Load Reduction Program, allows the utility to further integrating behind-the-meter battery energy storage based VPPs on the largest scale yet.

Currently, there are about 50,000 Powerwalls that could be eligible for this VPP, which add up to a significant 500 MWh of energy capacity than can be distributed in any event.

Price Action: Tesla closed 0.4% lower at $705.2 on Thursday, according to data from Benzinga Pro.

Photo courtesy: Tesla