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Texas to get 150-MW/150-MWh of battery storage projects backed by oil and gas money

Texas
Credit: Photo by Enrique Macias on Unsplash

Texas-based solar and energy storage independent power producer (IPP), Broad Reach Power, announced this week the development of 15 utility-scale battery storage plant sites near Houston and Odessa, by the end of 2020.

Broad Reach is backed by traditional oil and gas private equity company EnCap, along with Yorktown Partners, and Mercuria Energy.

Six of the sites are expected to be online and operating this summer and it is anticipated that others will be under construction this fall. All 15 sites will include a 10 MW/ 10 MWh standalone battery system capable of storing and distributing power.

Broad Reach is self-funding the projects — which will be located across Bexar, Brazoria, Ector, Galveston, Maverick, Victoria, and Zapata counties — and plans to explore financing options once they are operational, according to the company’s CEO Steve Vavrik.

In addition to making the grid more resilient, these emission-free storage projects also provide utilities and grid operators with more options to bring the grid back online after an emergency such as a hurricane or tropical storm, said Broad Reach. In addition, they do not use water and are small and modular so they can be constructed near customers with minimal intrusion. Each site is being developed using local civil and electrical engineers, surveyors, civil contractors, electrical contractors and project managers.

With companies looking to shift their industrial operations back to the US due to the virus, Broad Reach Power is betting that Texas will be a prime spot and plans to provide this storage capacity to ensure future reliability of cheap and emission-free resources that companies need.

“Despite the turmoil of 2020, U.S. demand for lower cost and emission-free generation sources such as solar and wind is increasing, and this is fueling the need for more battery storage assets,” said Vavrik. “Texas will be a prime location for data centers, manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies looking to expand their U.S. operations. However, the abundant, cheap and emission-free in-state generation resources these companies want, or sometimes even require, will need complementary storage assets to ensure the grid’s continued reliability,” he continued.

“Generators, utilities and REPs in Texas are exposed to uncertainty in the supply-demand matching that occurs every minute on the power grid. This gets manifested by price swings – both spikes and dips. Our storage system can offer ways to mitigate that risk through short- and long-term contracts, either physical or financial,” he said.