Featured Post

This is the Kodak Moment for the Auto Industry

Plug-In Drivers Not Missin' the Piston Electric vehicles are here to stay. Their market acceptance is currently small but growing...

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Tesla Powerwalls and PGE VPP Rule Changes

PGE has announced a major change to their Virtual Power Plant (VPP) program called SmartBattery. 

With the old program, participating homeowners (with home batteries such as our Tesla Powerwalls) were paid $20 per month for signing up to the VPP, making our batteries available to the utility. Each time there was an event, you could opt out if you liked. If you didn't opt out, then during an event PGE would pull energy out at a max power rate of 3kW. The events were generally 3 or 4 hours and limited to a total of 9kWh of energy per participant. The events happened throughout the year with August generally the most active month.

This was a nice system because the payment rate was consistent, but that's not how the new program works. Rather than just paying for availability, the new method pays you for actual participation by the kWh. You can see the payment rate below is $1.70 per kWh.  

Electricity around here is generally rather cheap (around 11 cents per kWh), so getting paid $1.70 per kWh is quite a premium. 

The new program also has new controls that allow you to specify how much of your battery charge you allow to participate in the event. You can see below that there are options of 30%, 50%, or 80%. 

The more of your battery that's used, the more kWh you provide to the grid, the more you get paid. I think this is a better structure than paying $20 per month, even if you opt-out each time. 

Comparing Plans

How do these two compare? From a financial perspective, the first one is easy to calculate: $20 per month for 12 months is $240 per year. 

The new program is not as easy to calculate. In 2022 there were 15 events. We contributed 9kWh to each. Applying the new rules, that would be $229.50 ($1.70 * 9 kWh * 15 events). That's a little less than the $240 from the old program; however, in the new program, I have opted for the maximum participation tier. So now I could contribute up to 32kWh per event. Meaning it's possible that my batteries could earn $600 per year. 

If you're in the Portland General Electric service area and you have residential batteries, check out the SmartBattery program if you want to help keep the peaker plants turned off and you want to earn a few dollars.

If you'd like to read more, you can learn about Powerwalls here.

If you want to buy your own Powerwalls, you can use my referral link for any referral bonuses that Tesla may be offering. Disclosure: I'm long TSLA.

No comments:

Post a Comment