Elon Musk has said part of the reason the Texas power grid had such a catastrophic failure last winter is that it has no way to store electricity. The Tesla CEO might think he has the answer; a subsidiary of his company has filed an application with the Texas Public Utility Commission to sell electricity in the state, CNBC reports. "In Texas, there was a peak power demand, and ... because the grid lacks the ability to buffer the power, they have to shut down power," Musk told investors earlier this year. "There's no power storage." Musk's company happens to be building large batteries near Houston.
Tesla's Megapack business involves a 100-megawatt energy storage system that can be connected to the grid. It holds enough electricity to run about 20,000 houses on a hot day, per CNN. Texas can't get help from other states when it runs low on power because its grid isn't connected to anybody else's. Approval of Tesla's application would allow him to sell electricity directly to consumers. He's built large batteries elsewhere, but they've been used to help other companies, not to sell power retail. Musk tweaked the nonprofit that manages the grid on Twitter in February, when millions of Texans lost power for days.
Tesla Energy Ventures would differ from its many Texas competitors in the unregulated market, per Texas Monthly. In addition to being able to sell power taken from the grid and stored, it could let consumers with solar panels easily sell it excess power. Only large commercial customers have that ability now. Tesla also wants to build a couple of 250-megawatt batteries in Texas that would serve wholesale power companies. The Tesla filing could be approved in November. Musk said last year that his energy business could one day be as large as Tesla Automotive. (Read more Tesla stories.)