PG&E and Tesla launch program to use customers’ Powerwall batteries to address reliability issues in California

Diving brief:

  • Tesla and Pacific Gas & Electric have started a program to aggregate storage in the taxpayers’ Tesla Electric walls to provide backup power to the California grid when intense heat increases demand on the system this summer and summer 2023. Residential battery owners and other participating distributed battery owners will receive $2 per kWh to export electricity to the system when supplies are crimped from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. between May 1 and October 31.
  • Owners of any of Tesla’s 50,000 distributed storage systems in PG&E’s service area can participate in the Emergency load reduction programWhere ELRP. This program was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission last December to bolster the grid with 2-3 GW of new resources as well as negawatts – reductions in energy consumption – to avoid power outages in late summer afternoons and early evenings.
  • The Tesla-PG&E project allows power wall homeowners to reserve storage capacity to ensure there is juice left in their battery after responding to a grid warning so they can power their home as needed or preferred. They can also disable a network warning event.

Overview of the dive:

“Be part of the world’s largest distributed battery and help keep California clean and reliable,” Tesla said last week when announcing its agreement with PG&E to use the combined generation of multiple customers. Electric walls to create a virtual power plant, or VPP.

“The program is an opportunity to show how customers can make a difference, replacing pecking plants and provide a climate-friendly solution,” said Kate Unger, Senior Policy Advisor at the California Solar and Storage Association. But having the program in place for only two to three years is insufficient because a longer program is needed to increase participation, she added.

What is remarkable in this part of California ELRP program, created in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s July 30, 2021, summer emergency supply directive, is that it allows for the first time to offset exports, not just load reductions, Unger said. This is generally not the case with California policy frameworks that govern VPPincluding for the need for adequacy of resources, according to Unger. “It’s a thing about ELRP it’s a step in the right direction,” she said.

Jin Nopedirector of policy for the California Energy Storage Alliance, said the storage industry “has worked to ensure that exports are recognized and compensated in the ELRP to help deal with the shortage of summer capacity.

California has the largest amount of distributed battery storage in the nation, reaching 900 MW across more than 75,000 installed systems, said Brad, director of policy for the California Solar and Storage Association. heaven said Utility Dive on June 27.

Between 900 and 1,350 MW of emergency supply and demand resources must come from PG&E territory under the ELRP.

The Tesla-PG&E program is bolstered by the fact that many batteries distributed by Tesla in PG&E territory are powered by rooftop solar, according to the utility. Charging the batteries behind the meter with solar power further reduces grid demand and emissions.

PG&E ratepayers participating in the program are required to assist the network for a minimum of 20 hours and a maximum of 60 hours during annual summer network alerts and emergencies called by the California Independent System Operator. Participants may receive 24 hours’ notice or less. Under the program, battery owners can decide how much power to reserve for their own use.

“With Tesla’s participation in PG&E’s emergency load reduction program, we are further integrating battery energy storage behind the meter based on VPP on the largest scale to date,” PG&E spokesman Paul Doherty said in an email.

People registered for this ELRP program can not only withdraw from one emergency per year, but also disable the VPP put on their power wall to suspend their registration in the program but not to end it.

Tesla said it would compensate program participants once a year or more frequently, starting in March.

Ryan H. Bowman