According to The Telegraph, Tesla has applied to the UK’s energy regulator for a license to sell electricity. The newspaper says the application, which it has reviewed, does not provide any information about why the company has filed the application, and Tesla did not respond to requests for clarification.
What follows is simple speculation based on what we know about the company. It has a wealth of experience building battery storage facilities for a number of customers, ranging from the island of Kauai to South Australia. It is also well along with its plans to aggregate 50,000 rooftop solar systems into a virtual power plant in South Australia. So it’s not like Tesla doesn’t have a solid foundation in making and storing electricity. The thing is, none of that expertise pertains specifically to the UK.
Does the application from Tesla presage a move by the company to greatly expand solar power and storage operations in the UK? Is it planning another virtual power plant that networks together many Powerwall residential batteries the way it has done with Green Mountain Power in Vermont? No one knows and Tesla isn’t saying, at least not yet.
CleanTechnica has suggested for years that Tesla is not an electric car company that also makes batteries. Rather, it is a battery company that also manufactures electric cars. Or maybe it’s just all of the above and more. If its goal is to show humans how to wean themselves from the deadly habit of burning fossil fuels, disrupting the utility industry the same way it has disrupted the automobile business is an important part of its long-range plans.
Amid all the controversy about what Elon Musk tweeted today and speculation from stock analysts about whether the company’s stock is about to soar or crash, Tesla continues its slow, steady march toward a zero-carbon future. If that includes bringing more renewable energy to Jollye Olde Englande, so much the better.