Tesla has been successfully working with ERCOT for the past three years. Their collaboration has led to the beginning of significant changes in the Texas energy market, and many achievements are yet to come. Tesla is seeking further changes to the ratification procedures in Texas to make its power grid reliable.
Texas resident, Tesla products owner, important community member and founder of What's Up Tesla blog, Gail Alfar, truly cares about her home state's energy market. In her blog post, she shared excerpts from Arushi Sharma Frank, US Energy Markets Policy Lead at Tesla, who spoke at the ERCOT Board of Directors on June 21, 2022. Arushi talked about the work done and the manufacturer's plans for further development.
For three years, Tesla has been successfully working with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to support its efforts to improve the resiliency and innovation of the grid. The collaboration began in 2020 when Tesla approached ERCOT to come up with the language in the nodal protocols that will allow Tesla Megapack to interconnect in the state. Gradually, cooperation expanded to a large scale, and all interested parties, utilities, independent manufacturers, and the consumer segment took part in resolving the issue, Arushi recalls. The joint work resulted in the first 100 Megawatt battery being interconnected and launched on time, starting operation in June 2021. It immediately began supporting the state's power grid.
Arushi noted that the market rule change period for the 100 Megawatt battery launch was only one year, which is very short. It was in Texas that Tesla achieved such results in the shortest possible time in its practice. She stressed that it was an incredible success: “I want to make sure that everybody knows that it is an incredible precedent and that precedent must continue in how ERCOT addresses and how stakeholders address innovation in this market.”
In 2021, Tesla sponsored another Nodal Protocol Revision Request (NPRR) - NPRR 1100. It is about building another big battery in an area that borders Giga Texas. According to Arushi, the big battery can participate for its full nameplate value in the energy and ancillary services market and provide grid reliability services, but that is just the most basic scenario for its use.
Arushi said that there is another use case for this battery. “If the substation or the connection to the grid is down, and the battery just cannot get its energy out to the system, the battery could still be used and be connected locally as a microgrid to another load to help that load with its operations,” she explained. Thus, the NPRR 1100 may allow Giga Texas to receive backup power for some functions. Of course battery capacity is limited, so it may allow Giga Texas to perform some safe shut-down operations and keep some functions running if there is a critical failure at the substation for any reason.
However, NPRR 1100 can be used in other, more important cases. It creates an entirely new value proposition for large batteries, which may be needed for large, critical applications in the state, such as hospitals or other essential industries. If these facilities are allowed to enter into contracts with the developers of large batteries, then everyone will benefit.
“On a good day they can participate in the market and get that value from the ERCOT but on a bad day they can turn around and use that large capacity of the system to support safe operations at a very large facility,” said Arushi. She also added, here, that she meant large facilities with loads of 50 to 100 megawatts. That is why it is so important to keep changing the ratification procedures in Texas.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.