Beyond the emergent dilemmas surrounding the recent Texas power crisis and whether oil or wind power was to blame for blackouts — no one can say Texas' power infrastructure is fine as it is.
This is ostensibly why Tesla CEO and tech billionaire Elon Musk might be building a colossal battery capable of adding 16,000 homes' worth of raw power into Texas' electric grid, according to an initial Monday report from Bloomberg.
Elon Musk's Tesla is reportedly plugging a secret super-battery into Texas
A little Tesla subsidiary called Gambit Energy Storage LLC has already begun work on a substantial energy storage facility based in Angleton, Texas — a small suburb south of Houston.
Incredibly, an official from The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) claims the battery has a "proposed commercial operation date" set for June 1.
The "secret" super-battery is reportedly designed to retain roughly 100 megawatts of power. For context, the Solar Energy Industries Association thinks a single megawatt is enough to power 164 homes throughout the nation — which would make Gambit's (or Tesla's) project capable of powering roughly 16,400 homes.
This isn't enough to have kept the lights on for the nearly 3 million households that lost power in February, but the difference would have (or could) help a substantial number of houses and people carry on through a major winter storm.
The fewer people facing deadly-cold temperatures without water, the lower the illnesses, injuries, and deaths the state will see if it happens again.
In its pre-Tesla days, Gambit was run via Plus Power LLC (which is not owned by Tesla). Initial documents filed by Plus Power with the state suggest the battery center could be charged via connection to a nearby 138-kV substation — and distribute electricity through the grid via the same connection.
Tesla is expanding into local power infrastructures
If this is the plan, the battery would charge from Texas' power grid when energy prices are low — namely, when conditions are perfect for wind and solar production — and then discharge its stored energy when a shortage happens.
Additionally, the super-battery could help boost the local electric system by "providing energy to 'jump start' electric generators," according to the pitch documents. The pitch also claims this process could go forward without carbon emissions, and stay out of view of nearby housing, oak trees, and various "substantial natural vegetation."
However, it remains to be seen whether Tesla finalized a buyout of the Gambit project, but the former has tried to make an entry into the mega-battery industry for years. Way back in 2017, the all-electric auto manufacturer revealed a 100-MW battery farm in Southern Australia, praised as "the world's largest lithium-ion battery" and powered via wind power.
It's also crucial to note how important Texas has become for the tech billionaire in recent months — since Elon Musk moved to Austin at the end of 2020, is rapidly rolling out factories throughout the state, and recently launched plans to build a city called "Starbase." We can't say for sure if Musk just became a major emergency power supplier in the lone-star state — but all the signs point to "probably."
This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.