You can’t check the news these days without reading reports of power grid failures, sky-high
gasoline prices, rolling blackouts, and record-breaking heat. It can make you wonder how we will address these issues and how we can power all the new EVs flooding the market in the coming years.
Tesla, innovative as ever, is looking to make a difference by allowing its Powerwalls to distribute energy back into the power grid during peak usage times.
What is a Powerwall, and how can it help the electricity grid?
Tesla does more than just sell
electric vehicles. They also have solar-based energy storage solutions for your home. The Tesla Powerwall stores solar energy in a battery to power your home. It can automatically detect power outages and use the stored solar energy to keep things running seamlessly.
This innovative technology is now being harnessed to help with the general electricity grid when things run amuck due to outages or electrical grid strain.
In a new agreement between Tesla and Pacific Gas and Power (PG&E), a few Tesla Powerwall customers will be part of this program as part of the Emergency Load Reduction Program in California. The program allows customers’ stored solar energy to be distributed into the general energy system to ease demand during peak energy use times.
Green Car Reports, “Participating customers' Powerwalls will collectively form a ‘distributed’ battery that can absorb excess energy during periods of low electricity demand, and discharge it back into the grid during periods of high demand, according to PG&E”.
PG&E will make it worth your while
This pilot program will be tested for five years and will incentivize Powerwall customers to participate. The Powerwall batteries will discharge energy into the PG&E system during the peak demand hours of 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and participants will be paid for this energy at the rate of $2.00 for every kWh of electricity.
This could be a good source of extra money for Powerwall owners, since PG&E’s base rate for electricity is about 32 cents per kWh.
Customers can still reserve power for their own use during these times and can opt out of the program entirely as well if this isn’t for them.
How will this help EV charging?
The ultimate goal of this program is to help stabilize the electricity grid. Since California is working towards most new vehicle sales being electric by 2035, a stable grid will be a must.
In light of recent heat waves and spiking electricity demands, coupled with the ongoing drought drastically reducing the amount of hydroelectric generated energy, California’s electricity grid requires updates and innovation.
Tesla and PG&E are hoping that this collaboration will be one possible solution to these energy issues in California, and a significant step towards easing the strain on the electrical grid, enabling reliable charging for all these exciting new EVs.
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