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Even the Batteries are Bigger in Texas

ID 92394881 © Vitaliy Stepanenko | Dreamstime.com

At first glance, Borden county, Texas seems like an odd fit for the world’s largest solar battery. After all, it lies right in the middle of Texas’ Permian Basin, one of the nation’s richest oil regions. Ironically, however, the booming fossil fuel industry is exactly why the battery is needed in the first place.

Drilling in the basin has recently pushed the state’s power grid to the brim, driving operators to seek out alternative power sources. The battery, being built by San Francisco-based IP Juno, will be used to store the energy harnessed by a neighboring solar farm.

If it comes to fruition, the battery system will far surpass anything we’ve seen in terms of raw storage. Until now, the biggest solar battery projects have had around 30 megawatts of storage. Expected to be completed in 20201, this 495-megawatt battery would store almost five times as much. And it will dwarf the state’s current biggest battery, a puny 10 megawatt system in Upton County.

This move, and others like it that have recently been announced, might signal the beginning of a new battery storage wave. The rapidly falling price attached to the technology have seen it getting hooked up to a variety of energy sources, from solar to gas-fired.

Portland General Electric (PGE) and NextEra Energy Resources recently announced an especially ambitious storage plan, promising to pair 30 MW of battery storage with 300 MW of wind generation and 50 MW of solar. Vistra Energy Corp, the company that installed the previously mentioned 10 megawatt system in Texas, say it’s planning a project at the Moss Landing power plant in California that will store 300 megawatts.

Heading into the next decade, we can expect to see batteries play an ever growing role in our grid.

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