September 16, 2020 Read More →

Broad Reach Power begins construction on 200MW of battery storage in Texas

Greentech Media:

It took a while, but the Texas grid battery market is officially heating up.

Developer-owner-operator Broad Reach Power confirmed Tuesday that it has commenced construction on a pair of 100-megawatt batteries, each of which is bigger than any battery plants currently operating in Texas’ ERCOT power market. They are slated to come online next year in Mason and Williamson counties, alongside 15 smaller systems rated at 10 megawatts/10 megawatt-hours each.

Houston-based Broad Reach is not alone in investing big in Texas energy storage: Developer Key Capture Energy completed three systems in the state between January and April, totaling 30 megawatts. Key Capture recently announced it will finish a 100 MW battery and two 50 MW plants in the first half of 2021. The ERCOT interconnection queue shows similarly ambitious plans from solar developers and many other energy companies.

Storage developers had largely steered clear of the rough-and-tumble ERCOT market in recent years, building big in California and other places that offer long-term offtake agreements with utilities. But Texas offers benefits that the wind industry has long appreciated: relatively easy land acquisition and permitting, and a competitive market that batteries can enter without waiting for major policy changes.

Broad Reach Power’s business model is indicative of what’s possible in ERCOT. The group formed barely over a year ago with backing from energy investors Yorktown Partners, EnCap Investments and Mercuria Energy. With renewable penetration increasing across the country but especially in Texas — the state has more than 30 GW of wind capacity and a rapidly growing base of solar plants — BRP wanted to tackle the challenge of matching supply to real-time demand. The firm’s backing allows it to finance projects from its own balance sheet, allowing more room to maneuver in a new market with new business models. It got to work applying them to both the high-voltage transmission interconnection queue and the distribution-level queue, which caps batteries at 10 MW.

The broader story is that multiple experienced energy investors are converging on Texas simultaneously. The interconnection queue contains more than two dozen batteries that are each larger than 100 megawatts; some go up to 300, 400, even 500 megawatts.

[Julian Spector]

More: The race is on to build the biggest batteries in Texas

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