Tesla also wants to be your electricity supplier in Texas

Tesla wants to provide power directly to Texas homes, taking steps to join a vast, fragmented industry of power suppliers that power the largely unregulated Lone Star State network.

Its new subsidiary, Tesla Energy Ventures, filed an application with the state utilities commission on Aug. 16 to become a retail electricity supplier. The company comes as Tesla is already building large energy storage facilities, including one near Houston, that could operate at the scale of an energy service.

If the plan gets the regulation approved, it’s one more step toward executive director Elon Musk’s stated goal of making Tesla more than a vehicle company.

Musk has told investors he expects the company’s energy business to one day rival car manufacturing, according to Bloomberg. Tesla sold 201,250 electric vehicles in the quarter ended June 30, with total revenue of $ 10.2 billion.

He has made several major moves to broaden his net energy horizons, including the purchase of financial solar panel provider Solar City in 2016. In his efforts to persuade skeptical investors, Musk says there is a comprehensive link between the company’s battery storage expertise and solar power, noting that both are needed for a more sustainable future.

Details of the Texas project are scarce and the company did not respond to any requests for comment The mail, making it difficult to determine exactly how the new Tesla company will be distinguished from the approximately 120 companies that sell electricity statewide. In accordance with Texas Monthly, citing anonymous people familiar with the company’s strategy, Tesla had planned to enter the state’s electricity market even sooner, ahead of the widespread blackouts that slowed state utilities in February.

The magazine also suggested that Tesla could equip itself to allow individual jeans with solar panels to make money by sharing their excess power with the grid, an agreement that exists in some other states.

It is also possible that the company may support the considerable energy needs of Musk’s other business interests in the state. Tesla is already building a large-scale “Gigafactory” near Austin. And SpaceX, the commercial space flight company it founded in 2002, has a launch facility in Brownsville, at the southernmost tip of the state.

Last year, Musk himself moved to Texas and sparked a wave of speculation about the enigmatic businessman’s enigmatic allegiances to his various businesses.

For Texas, any significant expansion of Tesla could help diversify the state’s oil-dominated energy mix. Its economy, politics, and cultural memory have long been intertwined with oil, although it also houses growing sectors of technology in Austin and elsewhere. Renewable energies, such as wind and solar, account for just over a quarter of the state’s total energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The limitations of the state’s light-touch regulatory environment were shown earlier this year, when a cold snap left power out for weeks across the state. The wintering failure of many of the state’s major power companies, critics say, is aided by a system that does not encourage them to do so, leaving the state normally warm and arid unprepared for temperatures of diving. And the unique independence that defines the Texas network (unlike other states, it is separate from the national network) left it unstoppable.

All in all, the crisis has cost the state’s economy about $ 80 billion to $ 130 billion from widespread damage to homes and businesses, loss of economic activity and contaminated water supply, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve. . At least 111 lives were lost.

Musk himself ended up with the Texas Electric Reliability Council, or ERCOT, which operates the power grid and manages the deregulated market of much of the state, when the crisis began.

“@ERCOT: ISO doesn’t win this R,” he tweeted on Feb. 17.

Tesla’s revenue soared last year amid a wave of pandemic-induced car buying, which grew 28% to $ 31.5 billion. Shares of the company added about 1.5% on Friday, standing at $ 712 per share.

Aaron Gregg, The Washington Post via Bloomberg