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Tesla connects a secret mega-battery to the Texas Grid

(Bloomberg) – Elon Musk enters the Texas power market with a previously unopened construction of a giant battery connected to an ailing power grid that nearly collapsed last month. The move marks Tesla Inc.’s first major foray into the epicenter of the US energy economy. A Tesla subsidiary registered as Gambit Energy Storage LLC is quietly building a more than 1

00 megawatt energy storage project in Angleton, Texas, a city about 40 miles south of Houston. A battery of that size could power about 20,000 homes on a hot summer day. Workers at the site kept equipment under cover and deterred spectators, but a Tesla logo could be seen on a worker’s hard hat and public documents helped confirm the company’s role. Property records registered with Brazoria County show that Gambit shares the same address as a Tesla facility. near the company’s automobile factory in Fremont, California. An application to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lists Gambit as a Tesla subsidiary. Tesla executives did not respond to further requests for comment. Shares of Tesla reported early gains Monday, falling 6% to $ 562.31 per share. 15:17 in New York. The stock has fallen in the last four days and has fallen by approx. 20% so far this year. When winter storms hit Texas in February, leaving millions without power for several days, Musk took to Twitter to spot the Electric Reliability Council of Texas or Ercot. , the nonprofit group that controls the flow of electric power to more than 26 million customers. “Does not earn the R,” he wrote. Musk, 49, recently moved to Texas, and his various businesses are expanding their operations in the state. The battery storage system, built by Tesla’s Gambit subsidiary, is registered with Ercot and sits next to a Texas-New Mexico Power station. Warren Lasher, senior director of systems planning at Ercot, said the project has a proposed date for commercial operation on June 1st. The duration of the battery remains unclear, and Ercot could not comment on the project’s capability. While Tesla is known for its sleek battery-powered electric vehicles, it has always been more than a car company: its official mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” Auxiliary batteries for storing electricity produced by wind and solar are needed, but they can also become lucrative options. By storing excess electricity when prices and demand are low, battery owners can sell it back to the grid when prices are high. Read more: How America’s Empire Can Escape an Unreliable Power GridTesla has spent years expanding into residential energy technology. Back in March 2015, Musk unveiled a home battery product, called Powerwall, with a splashy event in its design studio near Los Angeles. Scores of electricity and energy leaders participated. A year later, Tesla acquired SolarCity, the solar cell installer founded by Musk and his cousins. Musk then hooked a “sunroof” that has undergone several iterations without becoming a strong competitor in the market. But the company’s product range already reaches beyond the home and into the electricity grid. The Tesla Powerpack and even larger Megapack were designed with supply customers in mind. Launched in 2017, Tesla’s Southern Australia battery project is adjacent to a wind farm and can store excess electricity generated on gusty nights on demand during the day. With 100 megawatts, it was the largest battery project in the world at launch. While Tesla’s focus on energy often takes the back seat in the increasingly competitive business of producing and selling electric cars, Musk and his executive team continue to highlight energy as an important part of their growth. “I think the long-term Tesla Energy will be about the same size as Tesla Automotive,” Musk said during a earnings call in July 2020. “The energy business is overall larger than the automotive industry.” Tesla’s battery packs are connected to Southern California. Edison’s Mira Loma Station, east of Los Angeles. The 20 megawatt system, which has been online since December 2016, supports the operation of the grid during peak hours and helps the utility company get the most out of its renewable resources. In the San Francisco Bay Area, PG&E Corp. constructs. and Tesla a 182.5-megawatt system at an electrical substation in Moss Landing that was to be operational in August. Tesla Energy could represent up to 30% of the company’s total revenue in the 2030s up from approx. 6% today, according to analyst Alexander Potter from Piper Sandler. His research has highlighted the potential of Autobidder, a Tesla software platform designed for utilities. Tesla Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn has described Autobidder as an “autonomous energy market participation system that conducts high-frequency trading.” Potter has a price target of $ 1,200 on Tesla stock, the highest on Wall Street. “Tesla’s percentage of energy storage business is growing faster than their car business and it will only accelerate,” said Daniel Finn-Foley, energy manager. storage at Wood MacKenzie Power and Renewables. “They are absolutely respected as a player and they compete aggressively for the prize.” Musk’s empire has several branches in Texas, and with the billionaire’s recent move from California, the Lone Star state now looks set to become the center of his universe. Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, is building and testing Starship, a new rocket and spacecraft designed to take humans to Mars at a facility in Boca Chica on the southern tip of the Gulf Coast. Another rocket test facility is located in McGregor, near Waco. Musk posted a family photo on Twitter Monday with the caption “Starbase, Texas.” SpaceX has sent engineering positions in Austin to a “new, advanced production facility” for Starlink, a space-based high-speed Internet service. Tesla is also building a new factory in East Austin for its upcoming Cybertruck, an electric pickup. Gigafactory Texas, as the plant is known, will create 5,000 intermediate production jobs and is expected to produce the first vehicles by the end of this year. Musk’s focus on Texas comes as the dominant U.S. energy hub – with its abundant natural gas, oil, solar and wind resources – is transformed by the growing growth of renewable energy. For more than a century, the Texas grid has transported power from large plants to customers over miles of transmission lines. The recent storms have highlighted how fragile that heritage system is in the era of climate change. With the expansion of giant batteries such as those manufactured by Tesla’s Gambit project and others, the state’s electricity grid can be reworked around distributed production, which may prove to be more resilient. Approximately 2,100 megawatts of battery storage and 37,000 megawatts of solar and wind are in advanced phases. connection to Ercot’s network. “It’s not only stunning, but the funding is already in place,” Jigar Shah said on March 2, a day before the clean energy pioneer was appointed director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s lending office. The Gambit project was originally developed by San Francisco-based Plus Power, a privately held renewable energy company that has battery operations in several states. Scott Albert, the former mayor of Angleton, said it was obvious that Plus Power was working with Tesla. A project overview, available on the city’s website, contains images of Tesla’s battery products for utilities, and some of Plus Power’s key employees have previously worked for Tesla. (Plus Power confirmed its sale of the project to an undisclosed party and declined further comment.) The Gambit project is not hard to find in Angleton, a small town of about 3,000 people in the middle of the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. But people on the construction site seem to have instructions to avoid drawing attention or answering questions from passers-by. A photographer trying to observe from the main gate was told by a worker that it was a “secret project.” White plates obscured what appeared to be Tesla’s modular Megapacks. In Texas, Albert said it is common for real estate or energy developers to start projects with multiple potential partners or buyers waiting in the wings. It made sense to him that the project ended up with the state’s biggest billionaire. “Elon Musk has a lot of activity in Texas right now,” Albert said. “It would not surprise me if Musk is considering starting his own electricity company.” READ NEXT: After the Texas Crisis, Biden’s climate plan hangs on fragile power grid (updates Tesla’s stock price in the fourth section. Adds details on battery life in the sixth section and Elon Musk’s family photo in the 14th section.) For more articles like this, visit us at bloomberg.com Sign up now to be at the forefront of the most trusted business news source. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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