Texas utility El Paso Electric on Dec. 19 said it was enacting a long-term energy supply resource plan that includes utility-scale battery storage. The two 50-megawatt battery storage projects will be the utility’s first utility-scale battery storage resources.
In 2017, the investor-owned utility determined that additional capacity of approximately 50 MW by 2022 and 320 MW by 2023 was needed to continue to meet the needs of its customers.
After a review of proposals received in response to an All Source Request for Proposal, three long-term purchased power agreements (LTPPAs) and a new gas-fired generation unit were chosen. The LTTPAs provide for the purchase of energy and capacity from a 100 MW solar facility to be constructed in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, a 100 MW solar facility combined with 50 MW of battery storage to be constructed in Otero County, New Mexico, and a 50 MW stand-alone battery storage facility to be constructed in Canutillo, Texas.
The 228 MW gas-fired generation unit is expected to be constructed at EPE’s existing Newman Power Plant site (Newman Unit 6). The two 50 MW battery storage projects will be EPE’s very first utility-scale battery storage resources.
Hecate Energy will take the lead on the first project, a 100 MW solar facility in Santa Teresa. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will develop, own and operate the second project, a 100 MW solar facility in Otero County that will also include 50 MW of battery storage.
Ørsted Onshore will serve as the project developer of the third project, a 50 MW battery storage facility in Canutillo.
Pending approval of the necessary regulating bodies, the two solar facilities coupled with 50 MW of battery storage are anticipated to be in service by May 2022.
The 50 MW stand-alone battery storage facility and the new gas generation unit are expected to be in service prior to summer 2023.
Texas “is carving out a leadership position in adopting large-scale battery storage as battery prices fall, technology improves and electricity demand grows, potentially paving the way for renewable power to dominate the state’s energy mix,” the Houston Chronicle’s L.M. Sixel recently reported.
“The amount of storage on the state’s power grid is still small — just 100 megawatts in a system with a generating capacity of nearly 80,000 megawatts — but is expected to more than triple to about 360 megawatts in 2020 and grow even faster in coming years. The state’s grid manager, meanwhile, is considering proposals to develop some 7,200 megawatts of large-scale battery storage within the next five years or so, exceeding the amount of natural gas generation in the pipeline,” Sixel reported.