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Tesla announces expansion of its biggest virtual power plant in Australia

Tesla announced today that it is expanding its biggest virtual power plant in Australia to Victoria through its new “Tesla Energy Plan.”

Australia, and especially South Australia, has had a lot of power issues over the years as it retires aging infrastructure.

It also has a high penetration of renewable energy, which destabilized energy markets due to the inconsistency of the power supply.

Tesla first got involved by supplying its Powerpack in a large energy storage project owned by Neoen that became known as the “Tesla Big Battery.”

While in the region during the launch of the big battery, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was interviewed and presented with the significant hardship that Australia’s high electricity prices are putting on low-income families.

The unstable grid and high electricity costs result in some families having to decide between keeping the lights on or going hungry.

Musk was visibly emotionally affected by the issue and vowed that Tesla would “work harder” to help solve the problem.

He wasn’t kidding because a few months later,  Tesla announced that it reached a deal with the South Australian government to install solar arrays and Powerwalls on up to 50,000 homes – many of them homes of low-income families.

Over the last few years, Tesla has been deploying more Powerwalls to grow the virtual power plant, which provides grid services to reduce cost and backup power in case of a power outage.

Last summer, Tesla had 1,000 Powerwalls on the network, and they were authorized for a new phase to add another 3,000 batteries.

Earlier this year, the company expanded the program by launching what it calls the “Tesla Energy Plan on the Tesla Virtual Power Plant,” which is basically a time of use energy plan specifically made for Powerwall owners in South Australia.

Today, Tesla announced that it is expanding its Tesla Energy Plan and Tesla Virtual Power Plant to Victoria:

“Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant allows you to maximise your energy savings through flexible Time of Use rates. The unique smarts of Tesla’s world leading technology will monitor and manage your Powerwall, assessing usage patterns to help ensure your home is powered by the most efficient source. Reducing your energy bill and benefiting your community at the same time.”

This is a big move from the company since Victoria is a much bigger market with a population of over 6 million people versus 1.7 million in South Australia.

Josef Tadich, senior engineering manager for Tesla Energy in Australia, commented on the expansion:

“Excited to launch the Tesla Energy Plan into my home state of Victoria today. The expansion of our Virtual Power Plant (VPP) from South Australia to Victoria allows customers with a Powerwall to participate in wholesale energy and frequency control markets, providing cheaper retail rates and supporting the power system when it’s needed most.”

The engineer added:

“This is how we increase from the 60% renewables penetration we hit yesterday here in the NEM, and accelerate the transition: integrating renewables and storage at transmission level; as well as coordinating residential PV, battery storage, and EV charging as active Distributed Energy Resources (DER).”

Here Tesla lists some of the benefits of joining its energy plan:

  • Monthly Grid Support Credits
  • Limit of 50 Powerwall discharge cycles per year
  • Extended warranty, up to 15 years1 on your new Powerwall
  • Virtual Power Plant that is purpose built for Powerwall
  • No Lock in contract energy plan
  • Minimum 20% Back-up reserve during a grid outage
  • Australian Based Customer Service Team

Current Tesla Powerwall owners can now join the program here, or homeowners can buy new Powerwalls to join the program.

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