West Texas to be home to energy storage project
Energy flows from the Permian Basin in more forms than crude oil and natural gas. West Texas is home to some of the nation’s largest wind farms, and work has been done on developing solar and geothermal energy as well.
Now West Texas is becoming home to the development of energy storage, which will become an important piece of future energy infrastructure. Essen-Germany-based E.ON, an energy network, customer solution and renewables-focused company, has broken ground on two short-duration energy storage projects on its wind farms near Roscoe.
Texas Waves, located on E.ON’s Pyron and Inadale wind farms, consists of two 9.9 megawatt short-duration energy storage projects using lithium-ion battery technology. Texas Waves is designed to provide ancillary services to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas market in order to respond to shifts in power demand quickly and increasing reliability and efficiency. The projects will be E.ON’s second and third grid-connected lithium-ion battery systems installed in North America and are expected to be online by the end of the year.
Mark Frigo, vice president of energy storage, North America, at E.ON, provided some insight on Texas Waves via email.
MRT: This may be an elementary question, but are lithium-ion batteries already a part of the wind farm industry?
Frigo: Actually, not really. These batteries are becoming a growing part of the overall power industry, and especially the renewables industry (wind + solar) because they are becoming much more cost effective. They are a solution to the generation intermittency problem that is inherent with renewable generation.
MRT: Power is an integral part of oil and gas production, which is integral to West Texas. How can Texas Waves impact power availability?
Frigo: The Texas Waves projects will help maintain frequency regulation within the ERCOT grid. In a U.S. electricity grid, the alternating current (AC) frequency needs to be held within tight tolerance bands around 60 Hz. If the frequency falls outside of this tolerance band, generators begin to go out of synchronization triggering events that can quickly lead to catastrophic grid collapse (i.e. blackouts). Energy storage allows grids to quickly maintain that tight tolerance, thus protecting against blackouts.
MRT: What kind of jobs is this project creating and how many?
Frigo: Texas Waves has immediately created 50 construction jobs. Note that the batteries are fairly automated, and integrated into the existing Pyron and Inadale wind farms. These wind farms are managed by our West Texas team, which numbers approximately 100.