Tesla and electricity storage: the triple revolution?
A few weeks ago, Tesla Motors launched battery systems for homes, business and electric utilities. Beyond the technology offered (criticised by some), this article will discuss the triple revolution which may result from this decision.
(CC BY 4.0) Tesla Motors – A picture of the Tesla Powerwall
- Revolution in the electricity industry
Currently, the electricity sector is characterised by big centralised power plants delivering their production to consumers by the mean of transport and distribution electricity networks. These ones have to keep a stable tension, i.e. demand and supply have to constantly be equal. This explains why the development of renewable energy is a challenge for the electricity industry: production is decentralised and intermittent. At this point electricity storage could tackle both issues by allowing every consumer to be his/her own supplier. In other words, depending on the competitiveness of electricity storage and its capacity to be largely deployed, the electricity market could be transformed in a near future.
- Revolution in Africa’s energy supply
Africa will face huge electricity needs in the coming decades. But the continent lacks of infrastructures and big power plants like those in Europe for instance. With the right electricity storage systems, this weakness could become a strength. Most of the African countries could avoid indeed spending money for building big centralised infrastructure and embracing directly solar and wind energy production backed with storage. If this comes to reality, Tesla may have taken a huge advantage on its future competitors by being the first one on this market.
- Revolution in business model
Electricity storage can be stationary (flywheel, electrochemical battery, etc.), but also non-stationary (electric car battery). There is a concept named “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G) by which electric cars, when connected to the grid, are used as a potential source of electricity or as a storage capacity. So far, Tesla is the sole electric car producer who positions itself on both ways of storing electricity. In other words, in case of success, Tesla will have created a network of energy storage devices which will make it indispensable.