Batteries begin storing wind and solar energy for the Texas grid
Conventional wisdom maintains that wind and solar power depend on affordable energy storage, and until battery prices drop, the United States will rely on natural gas and coal-fired power plants.
A few years ago, most analysts thought it would take decades, but the clean energy future is much closer than most people think.
Able Grid Energy Solutions started construction last month on the largest stand-alone battery storage project in Texas, capable of providing 100 megawatts to help the Electric Reliability Council of Texas maintain and stabilize the state’s grid. The Chisholm Grid project will be one of the largest in the world.
This new energy storage system is just one of many under development in ERCOT, signaling the arrival of affordable batteries on the system that meets 85 percent of Texas’ electricity demand.
ERCOT expects battery capacity to triple this year over 2019, and then nearly triple again in 2021 to almost 1.2 gigawatts, enough storage for the power generated from 3 million solar panels or more than 400 wind turbines, according to the Department of Energy.
Project developers have proposed another 8 gigawatts of battery storage projects and are awaiting ERCOT approval, according to applications analyzed by PV Magazine, a solar energy trade publication.
Many of the proposed battery projects are connected to solar farms so they can take advantage of federal tax credits. They will supply power from when the sun begins to set until West Texas wind picks up after dark.
For a look into the Texas power grid’s future, check out ERCOT’s monthly Capacity Changes by Fuel Type report. July’s edition shows solar and battery projects are proliferating, while wind and natural gas remain stable. ERCOT forecasts Texas will have plenty of electricity as it relies more on wind and sun.