Backup batteries | Texas company storing energy for power outages
KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — While mother nature can make cheap and clean electricity, she doesn’t come with a switch we can control. The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.
But the issue of intermittency has one promising solution.
“Battery storage is something that is going to be a game changer,” said Clark Bixler, senior development manager for Enel Green Power.
Enel is part of the changing landscape of the Texas power grid. In rural Kaufman County southeast of Dallas, its 1400-acre solar farm not only harnesses the sun’s energy but stores it too.
“This plant can deploy energy at any given time of day, not just when the sun is shining.”
The thousands of solar arrays are connected to two dozen storage containers each with about 500 lithium-ion batteries inside.
“When they’re fully charged, it will take about an hour and a half to totally discharge all the energy onto the grid,” said operations and maintenance site manager Alfonso Reyes.
The project can store and discharge 50 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 10,000 homes. It’s a boost of juice available when the ERCOT grid is running low.
“Battery storage can bridge the gap when other generators go down,” Bixler said.
“The battery storage can supply that energy until those generators can come back online.”