Houston-based Broad Reach Power has added two new stand-alone battery storage projects to the Texas grid.

The company announced this week that its North Fork and Bat Cave battery storage projects in Central Texas have been placed into service with ERCOT, each bringing online 100 MW/100 MWh. Broad Reach Power now has 300 MW of dispatchable storage resources in ERCOT.

“The demand for new power generation in Texas, including wind and solar generation, is accelerating. Battery storage is a critical component in supplying affordable, clean power, while also enhancing Texas grid reliability,” Broad Reach Power CEO Steve Vavrik said. “Bringing these two projects into service advances Broad Reach’s commitment to developing key energy infrastructure in Texas.”

An extreme winter storm that left millions of Texans without power in February highlighted the rapid need for more battery storage to support the state’s grid. Preliminary findings of a joint investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation blamed an increasing frequency of extreme cold-weather events, as well as the devastation caused by the failure of natural gas-fired plants.

As of Oct. 2021, ERCOT had about 1100 MW of grid-connected battery storage in service with a pipeline of 4,000 MW by March 2023.

Q CELLS, a developer of solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage systems, announced Wednesday that the company had acquired the 190 MW/380 MWh Sputnik Energy Storage development project from Belltown Power, which is expected to come online in ERCOT in 2022.

The project represents Q CELLS’ entrance into the stand-alone battery storage market with, what will be, one of the largest battery storage projects in Texas.

“This acquisition builds upon the tremendous momentum at Q CELLS,” said Mr. Jaekyu Lee, President of Q CELLS USA Corp. “We are proud of completing another transaction with Belltown Power, and are happy to be sharing in the accomplishments with such a valuable partner to Q CELLS.”

The Texas Public Utilities Commission is in the process of redesigning the ERCOT market by December.

Doug Lewin, an energy consultant in Texas, said it’s difficult to read which direction the TPUC is going, but added that he anticipates that the ERCOT redesign will reward energy storage and demand response.

“We just simply don’t know yet because (the TPUC doesn’t) appear to be particularly close to any kind of solution yet on the market redesign,” Lewin told Renewable Energy World. “Honestly, that doesn’t bother me. Need to make sure gas supply and power plants get weatherized, and get more storage, demand response, and energy efficiency, and then make sure we take time to understand cost impacts and reliability impacts of the broader market redesign proposals.”


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