Broad Reach Power builds two Texas battery plants equal in size to state’s largest project so far

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One of IPP Broad Reach Power’s smaller Texas projects pictured earlier this year. Image: Broad Reach Power.

Relative industry newcomer Broad Reach Power is set to equal in size the largest standalone battery project announced so far in Texas, with two new 100MW facilities under construction in the US state.

Houston, Texas-headquartered Broad Reach Power said that it is investing over US$100 million in two recently-acquired projects, each of 100MW output and located on greenfield sites in the Texas counties of Williamson and Mason.

Each is the same size as the biggest standalone energy storage project reported to be already underway in Texas, from developer Able Grid and its partners.

Like others, Broad Reach Power has identified that the growing need for energy services in the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) service area is a big economic opportunity for battery storage systems as the state adds more renewables to its grid in tandem with a growth in energy demand.

The company announced in June that it is building 15 separate, smaller battery sites, each just under 10MW / 10MWh output and capacity in the Houston and Odessa areas. Six are already under construction while the company said that it rapidly expected to scale up to delivering much bigger systems, including the two 100MW / 100MWh systems that it has just broken ground on.

At the time, CEO and managing partner Steve Vavrik said that Broad Reach Power was responding to a “Texas-scale” need for reliability services to help match supply and demand on the state’s electricity networks. Vavrik said that one-hour duration systems are the “best choice economically” to respond to market opportunities in ERCOT territory.

Batteries and the ‘already challenging’ real-time energy balancing goal

The independent power producer (IPP) expects to have 100MW of storage online by the end of 2020 and bring 350MW online next year, all in Texas. It also plans to bring a pipeline of 700MW of storage with interconnection agreements already in place online in California, Montana and other markets in the western US.

In a statement yesterday, Vavrik said that more renewables on the grid are desirable as they “reduce costs and emissions,” but at the same time wind and solar “add more variation and risk to an already challenging real-time balancing goal”.

“This problem will compound as both renewable penetration and power demand increase. Deploying more energy storage systems like our units operating in Odessa and the Houston area will strengthen the grid’s reliability,” Vavrik said.

Broad Reach Power only formed in late 2019, with backing from EnCap Investments, an energy investment fund which has put venture capital into sectors including oil and gas previously.

At its formation in September last year, the company said it had plans to be in control of more than 2GW of generation by 2021, including both standalone energy storage power plants and storage in combination with renewables and even existing thermal power plants.

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