Tesla applies for electricity provider licence

New reports suggest that Tesla is making preparations for a move into the energy business.

The American EV manufacturer recently filed an application for a British electricity provider license, which could see the company support the national grid with the same battery technology found in its electric vehicles.

The move could also allow Tesla to introduce its energy management software, Autobidder, to the UK – letting Tesla operate as a middle man between energy producers and residents.

The system is already being used in Australia, allowing homeowners to automatically switch their energy tariffs onto the cheapest renewable source, based on the market status.

In South Australia, the system manages the renewable electricity stored in the Hornsdale Power Reserve. It’s the world’s largest lithium-ion battery pack, which Tesla installed in the state back in 2017 after a heavy storm damaged the State’s electricity infrastructure, causing widespread blackouts.

It has  a capacity of 100MW – which is enough to supply around 30,000 homes with power. The system stores energy from a nearby wind-farm and automatically deploys it when needed.

Alongside its electric vehicles and state-supporting battery packs, Tesla also makes a home battery pack called Powerwall, which is large enough to supply a house with electricity for up to seven days in the event of a power outage. The system costs around $15,000 and can be coupled with a solar panel, to help reduce a home’s reliance on the regular energy grid.

Tesla’s Powerwall system also operates on the firm’s Autobidder software, allowing owners to store low-cost electricity, purchased at off-peak times, which can then be used at on-peak times. The power pack can be set to automatically follow this energy usage pattern, which Tesla says will save owners money in the long run.

Luke Wilkinson

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