Tesla is behind a secretive big battery project in Texas


Tesla is apparently behind a somewhat secretive big battery project in Texas, a state in which people have been calling for improvements to the electric grid.

The project is located in Angleton, near Houston.

Tesla has attempted to distance itself from the project with an LLC, but Bloomberg managed to link Tesla to the LLC and the project:

A Tesla subsidiary registered as Gambit Energy Storage LLC is quietly building a more than 100 megawatt energy storage project in Angleton, Texas, a town roughly 40 miles south of Houston. A battery that size could power about 20,000 homes on a hot summer day. Workers at the site kept equipment under cover and discouraged onlookers, but a Tesla logo could be seen on a worker’s hard hat and public documents helped confirm the company’s role.

While it’s not the first venture into energy storage in Texas for Tesla, it appears to be the biggest one to date at over 100 MW of capacity.

A visit at the site shows that the project is using Tesla’s Megapack.

Interestingly, Tesla is supplying its batteries to Plus Power, which is managing the energy storage project:

The Gambit project was originally developed by San Francisco-based Plus Power, a privately held renewables company that has battery operations in several states. Scott Albert, the former city manager of Angleton, said it was obvious that Plus Power was working with Tesla. A project summary available on the city’s website features images of Tesla’s utility-scale battery products, and some of Plus Power’s principal staffers previously worked at Tesla. (Plus Power confirmed its sale of the project to an undisclosed party and declined further comment.)

Tesla’s energy business has been booming lately.

The company deployed a record 1,584 MWh of energy storage in Q4 – almost 200% increase year-over-year and 100% increase quarter-over-quarter.

This new project comes amid Texas having to rethink its electric grid after bad weather last month put so much pressure on the grid that it pushed it to the brink of failure. It resulted in many regions having rolling blackouts.

Energy storage capacity is seen as part of the solution by helping stabilize energy coming from renewable energy, like solar and wind, which is not always consistent. (All forms of energy failed in the Texas freeze.)

Batteries are also quicker to respond to change on the grid than the gas peaker power plants.

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