$1M For Large Battery Storage Project in Texas
Luminant, based out of Irving TX is the state’s largest electricity provider and has just recently been awarded a $1 million grant for the construction of one of the largest electricity storage facilities created to date.
According to Luminant it will be the 7th largest electricity storage facility in the United States at 10-megawatts. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has awarded this grant for the construction of this electric storage facility to Luminant in an ongoing effort to help curb emissions.
Currently, Texas only gets less than 1 percent of its electrical power from solar energy, and more battery installations like this could help solar energy be more profitable in the state. According to a Vistra spokesman (the parent company of Luminant) the battery will be able to boost their facilities output during peak hours, which means that it will be able to recharge at night when power is least expensive.
Luminant’s 1,900 acre Upton 2 solar facility, which was purchased in 2017 while still under construction, just started generating electricity in June of this year, and the battery is expected to be installed before the end of this year. Upton 2 is one of the largest solar facilities in Texas, and it is expected to generate enough power at full capacity to handle 56,700 homes or half of that during high heat.
This is good news considering the Texas power grid set several power demand records this summer. The record usage in a single hour was 73,259 megawatts between 4 and 5pm on July 19th 2018, beating the August 2016 record of 71,110 megawatts.
Although Texas has been one of the slower state to adopt battery storage due to the availability of lower cost wind, and natural gas options. The State’s battery capacity has increased 250 percent since 2016.
With the cost of lithium-ion batteries dropping by 70% between 2012 and 2017 investing in battery storage could now be a more viable option in Texas.
Net metering (electricity arbitrage) is the practice of selling excess stored power back to the grid is not a common practice in Texas, but with solar becoming more cost effective these types of practices are on the table.
Luminant plans to send electricity back to the grid from the Upton 2 battery, rather than use it for other purposes. When fully charged the Upton 2 battery will be capable of generating 42-megawatt hours of electricity.
The more companies like Luminant invest in solar and battery power solutions the better it gets for consumers both commercial and residential. Couple that with tax incentives and Texas will see their already low energy costs drop even more. Currently energy costs in Texas rank in the bottom third.
This is all great news for Texas, and the world, as we all work toward a more sustainable energy source. With the cost of solar getting more and more affordable the investment makes sense, and compared to other renewable energy sources like wind, solar energy production tends to match that of consumer demand.