Tesla Energy Ventures files application to sell retail electricity in Texas

The electric vehicle and battery energy storage company Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) is seeking a new foothold in the power space: providing retail electricity to Texans.

A newly minted subsidiary dubbed Tesla Energy Ventures LLC filed an application Aug. 16 for a Retail Electric Provider certificate from the Texas Public Utilities Commission, according to the agency’s website. Texas Monthly first reported on Tesla’s new venture.

Among 120 other REPs selling power to Texas consumers, Tesla Energy Ventures could stand out through its potential to offer electrons from less traditional sources, sources told Texas Monthly. Examples include the company's solar panels, huge energy storage projects under development, and smaller home batteries it already sells as distributed energy resources.

Tesla Energy Ventures applied to supply retail power to customers within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ territory, which includes the entire state except some counties in East Texas, the Panhandle and the El Paso area.

Two utility-scale batteries that Tesla is planning outside Houston and Austin will be affiliated with the electricity provider, according to the application.

In March, news surfaced that Tesla subsidiary Gambit Energy Storage LLC was constructing a 100-megawatt energy storage project in Angleton, about 40 miles south of Houston in Brazoria County. The battery was expected to begin operating by June 1, but it's unclear whether that happened.

Another subsidiary — Giga Texas Energy LLC — is slated to build a huge battery on Tesla’s vast property in Travis County, where the company is rapidly completing a gigafactory. Tesla Energy Ventures’ office will also be part of the Austin-area complex, according to the REP certificate application.

The electricity company is helmed by President Ana Stewart, who has directed Tesla’s regulatory credit trading from the Austin office since 2017. Stewart has worked with ERCOT in her position at Tesla and earlier in the decade as an analyst at Direct Energy in Houston.

Tesla Energy Ventures is working on a scheduling agreement with Houston-based Engie Energy Marketing NA Inc. in Houston, according to the application.

The PUC will most likely approve or deny the application by Nov. 15, which is 90 days after Tesla Energy Ventures filed, according to an agency document.

Emily Burleson

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