Texans have good reason to be concerned with their energy grid after it failed spectacularly this winter. Happily, Ford owners and dealers came to the rescue with their F-150 PowerBoost hybrids, and now Tesla is building what appears to be a more permanent solution. According to a report by Bloomberg Green, a company called Gambit Energy Storage, which is a subsidiary of Tesla, is building a 100-megawatt energy storage facility about 40 miles south of Houston. Such a system could produce enough power to run roughly 20,000 homes on a hot summer day.
Tesla already has other mega-batteries in operation, including a 20-megawatt facility east of Los Angeles and a 100-megawatt unit in Australia. Such battery systems serve as buffers for renewable energy sources—for example, storing energy from wind farms when winds are high but demand is low, allowing the power to be sold back to the grid operators at a profit when demand is high—or things go haywire.
Consider the situation in Texas in particular. Last month, Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) “is not earning that R.”
We’ve known for a while that Tesla struggles to make money from its car business, but the vehicles do provide excellent publicity for (potentially) more lucrative endeavors, such as the mega-battery business. Tesla also sells the Powerwall, a smaller storage system for residential use, as well as its own residential solar energy systems using both traditional panels and stealthy solar shingles.
Oddly enough, despite Musk’s apparent love for publicity, the Texas project seems to be somewhat secret. Bloomberg reports that workers have been keeping equipment covered, and it was only a Tesla logo on a staffer’s hardhat that tipped them off to Gambit’s corporate parent. Gambit Energy Storage has the same address as another Tesla entity, and the news service found a SEC filing listing the company as a Tesla subsidiary. Bloomberg tried to reach Tesla for comment, but received no answer. (No surprise there—Tesla tends to ignore the press, and with no PR department to reach out to we didn’t even try.)
Musk has been making a beachhead in Texas. Musk has moved house to the Lone Star State, and is building SpaceX facilities there as well as Gigafactory Texas, which reportedly will build the Cybertruck.
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