Tesla announced the expansion of its virtual power plant (VPP) powered by its Powerwall to several new states and regions in Australia.
Australia, and especially South Australia, has had a lot of power issues over the years as it retires aging infrastructure and tries to manage 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. In return, the home battery packs are subsidized and reduce energy costs for the households.
In 2020, Tesla had 1,000 Powerwalls on the network, and they were authorized for a new phase to add another 3,000 batteries.
A year later, 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.
Last year, Tesla announced that it is expanding its Tesla Energy Plan and Tesla Virtual Power Plant to Victoria.
Now Tesla is announcing another expansion of its virtual power plant to other neighboring states and regions around South Australia and Victoria:
Australia’s largest Virtual Power Plant has expanded to New South Wales, South-East Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory with the Tesla Energy Plan.
Existing Tesla Powerwall owners or new buyers in those regions can now decide to opt into the VPP.
This is one of the main ways in which Tesla’s energy division is slowly becoming a global decentralized energy provider, which is one of the stated goals of Tesla Energy according to CEO Elon Musk.
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