Tesla has a new product: Autobidder, a step toward becoming an electric utility

Tesla aims to eventually become a massive distributed electric utility, and we’ve now learned of a new product, Autobidder, which appears to be the next step in that direction.

Last year, Elon Musk said that Tesla Energy, the energy division of the automaker, is becoming a distributed global utility, and it could even outgrow its automotive business.

The idea is that Tesla would keep deploying more solar and energy storage systems, big and small, at the residential level and on utility-scale, and manage those distributed systems to act as a giant electric utility.

Tesla has developed software to control those energy assets, and now we’ve learned of a new one: Autobidder. It has apparently been used for a few years, but we are only now learning about it.

The company describes Autobidder on its website:

Autobidder provides independent power producers, utilities, and capital partners the ability to autonomously monetize battery assets. Autobidder is a real-time trading and control platform that provides value-based asset management and portfolio optimization, enabling owners and operators to configure operational strategies that maximize revenue according to their business objectives and risk preferences.

Tesla says that Autobidder is currently being used in Australia to manage the Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR), which is also known as the “Tesla Big Battery”:

Autobidder is succesfully operating at Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) in South Australia, and through market bidding, has added competition to drive down energy prices.

While it is known as the “Tesla Big Battery” because it uses Tesla’s Powerpacks, it is owned by Neoen, a French renewable energy company that also operates a wind farm next to the battery system.

So Tesla not only deployed the Powerpacks for them, but also provides them with this Autobidder software.

However, the new platform doesn’t only work with Tesla products and appears to be compatible with any type of energy storage.

Here’s a picture of the UI of Tesla’s Autobidder product:

Tesla writes about its Autobidder platform on its website:

Autobidder has hundreds of megawatt-hours of assets under management that have supplied gigawatt-hours of grid services globally. Autobidder operates at every scale: from aggregations of behind-the-meter residential systems to 100MW utility-scale installations. With seamless integration between hardware and software, Autobidder can be trusted to capture revenues immediately after project energization and 24/7 in dynamic environments.

The automaker says that it is also using its machine learning expertise to deliver several features:

  • Price forecasting
  • Load forecasting
  • Generation forecasting
  • Dispatch optimization
  • Smart bidding

Aside from the big battery system in Australia, Electrek has learned from sources that Tesla is also using Autobidder as part of its Powerwall deployment with Green Mountain Power in Vermont.

Now we’ve also learned that Tesla has taken its first step in becoming an energy provider in the UK, according to a document reviewed by the Telegraph.

Tesla is reportedly looking to use Autobidder in the UK:

Another purpose for the license may be to introduce the company’s ‘Autobidder’ platform, according to a company source. Acting as a middleman, the platform aggregates renewable power generators and trades their 

The company has deployed several Powerpack projects in the UK.

We previously reported on Amazon adding Tesla’s energy storage systems to its distribution centers in the UK, and they also deployed a system at the Manchester Science Park (MSP).

Electrek’s Take

This is an interesting development.

Like with Tesla’s virtual power plant with Powerwalls in Australia, I can see a future where Tesla leverages its massive deployment of solar and energy solar systems to create a marketplace for electric utilities to use that capacity in exchange for compensation.

It would significantly increase the value of Tesla’s deployed capacity for its customers and the company itself.

For utilities, it would enable them to reduce the use of polluting and expensive peaker plants.

I think we are going to see a lot more from Tesla on that front once they iron out the production ramp-up of the energy products, like Powerwalls, Megapacks, and solar roof tiles.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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