California utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is collaborating with Tesla on a pilot program that will combine thousands of Powerwall home battery systems to create a “virtual power plant” or “distributed battery.”
Above: Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant interface. Photo: Tesla
Tesla has invited some 25,000 PG&E customers with Powerwalls to join the program. PG&E residential customers are eligible for the program if they own a Tesla Powerwall, have an interconnection agreement with PG&E, and are not enrolled in other demand response programs.
Through the collaboration, Tesla will participate in PG&E’s Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) pilot by combining residential Powerwalls into a virtual power plant to discharge power back to the California grid during times of high electricity demand. Participating customers will receive $2 for every incremental kilowatt-hour of electricity their Powerwall discharges during an event. They can use the Tesla app to set their backup power needs or to opt out of a particular event, as necessary.
“VPPs are a valuable resource for supporting grid reliability and an essential part of California’s clean energy future,” said PG&E’s Aaron August, VP of Business Development & Customer Engagement. “Our customers’ home batteries offer a unique resource that can positively contribute to our state’s electric grid and will become more significant as our customers continue to adopt clean energy technology. In collaborating with Tesla, we are further integrating behind-the-meter battery-based VPPs on the largest scale yet, helping to make customer resiliency technologies more accessible.”
“Enabling Powerwall customers to support the grid and their community is a necessary and important part of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy,” said Tesla’s Drew Baglino, Senior VP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering. “We seek to partner with utilities and regulators everywhere to unlock the full potential of storage to bring more renewable, resilient, and less costly electricity to everyone.”