The Californian grid operator is being severely stressed right now due to an ongoing drought that has left all of the state’s large water reservoirs dry. Many of these are used for hydroelectric generation, so the turbines aren’t turning and electricity shortages are a dire possibility in the next weeks. This problem is further magnified by the fact that California is expected to go through a hot Summer, so everyone will be using their air cons to cope. This is a recipe for blackouts, but there’s something that could come to the rescue.
The state is home to a large number of Tesla Powerwall installations, and these could actually help bring balance to the grid in cases of exceptionally high demand. Powerwalls are there to keep homes energized even in the cases of outages, using solar panels to recharge and keep going for days. They reduce reliance to the grid and help their owners save money while also feeling less anxious about emergencies.
The idea that the state of California had, and which Tesla supports, is to have Powerwall users disconnect from the public grid before it is brought down to its knees, and also even export any excess power to it. It’ll be like a virtual electric power plant supporting all Californians using stored energy from the Sun, so sustainability will also be promoted.
There will be no financial compensation for the provision of this energy, but users of the Powerwall may opt to do it for the “public good”. Participation in this special program is optional, but users are already being notified about the importance of joining this noble effort.
Considering what the weather, temperatures, drought occurrence rates, and carbon emission requirements will be in the foreseeable future, this atypical power source may have to be used permanently, so it is likely to see incentives or a compensation added for the supporters.