Electric vehicle juggernaut Tesla has officially registered with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) as a “Market Customer,” a major step towards becoming an energy retailer.
Distributed energy expert and consultant at enX in Australia, Jon Sibley, discovered the registration, following Tesla’s groundwork in Australia which included the launch of “Tesla Electric” last year, allowing Tesla Powerwall owners to buy and sell electricity automatically, mitigating peak prices. Tesla also operates a virtual power plant in South Australia.
Sibley notes the move indicates one of two options – including Tesla’s potential role as a Financially Responsible Market Participant (FRMP) with AEMO – possibly for its batteries and charging infrastructure – or Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) or Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) models:
One option is Tesla becoming the FRMP for its large-scale battery and public charging assets. Tesla would need to also register as a scheduled generator for large-scale battery purposes (noting IRP changes could change AEMO’s registration definitions).
Another more interesting option is Tesla becoming an electricity retailer to sell energy services directly to end customers, potentially with a EaaS/MaaS angle. Tesla Energy Ventures was the name used for retail registration in Texas. There is no information yet on a AER retailer authorisation or exemption process for Tesla.
Tesla’s entry into the Australian energy market would be both strategic and timely, given challenges related to energy security and the transition to renewable energy sources. Tesla has exacted a model in Texas which targets those who have a Tesla Powerwall at home, a Tesla EV, or both.
Whether Tesla assumes the role of an energy retailer or opts for a more specialised position as a Financially Responsible Market Participant, the prospects of Tesla Electric could reshape the local energy market and add new innovations to old ideas of the grid. Others may see a chance to join as well, especially those who have reached significant penetration in Australia with both retail and commercial batteries, a list that could include brands like Sungrow, Sonnen, BYD, and others.
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