CATL sells 900MWh of BESS to US independent power producer for Texas projects

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China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL) has sold 900MWh of battery energy storage system (BESS) equipment to US independent power producer (IPP) Broad Reach Power. 

The BESS will be installed at six projects in Texas which Broad Reach Power is developing. The deal with one of the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery technology and manufacturing companies was announced yesterday by the IPP.

Founded in 2019, Broad Reach Power only launched its first BESS projects in 2020, announcing that it had 15 projects in development in Texas, with six to begin construction over the summer of that year.

Each of those projects had output and capacity of about 10MW/10MWh but just three months after that announcement the IPP said it was building two new 100MW/100MWh facilities in the state. Those came online in November 2021 to participate in the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market. 

A late 2021 investment from alternative asset manager Apollo saw a 50% stake in Broad Reach Power change hands and value the company at more than US$600 million. At the time, the company said it had more than 1.4GWh of energy storage under construction or in operation, in addition to a 21GW portfolio of wind, solar and energy storage projects in its ownership around the US. 

Of the latest deal, Broad Reach Power said construction will begin on the six CATL-supplied projects this summer, for completion during 2023. 

“Cooperation between CATL and Broad Reach in energy storage started a long time ago,” CATL’s president of energy storage Tan Libin said. 

“By further leveraging CATL’s innovative battery technologies and Broad Reach’s capabilities and network in the renewable energy industry, we will further facilitate the energy transition and the drive toward carbon neutrality in Texas and the US.”

Amidst the high profile supply chain challenges facing the US battery storage industry, particularly in light of COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the ongoing battery industry dynamic that the much bigger electric vehicle (EV) industry continues to be prioritised by big suppliers, the deal appears to represent a successful effort to lock in supply for BESS on the part of Broad Reach Power. 

It’s also interesting to note that the deal is for CATL BESS and not just for the lithium battery cells the Chinese manufacturer is perhaps better known for. For example, in early 2021, energy storage system integrator FlexGen said it was using CATL’s large format 280Ah lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells for two 100MW/110MWh standalone battery projects in Texas for an unnamed IPP customer, while another US-based system integrator and manufacturer, Powin Energy, has a multi-year master supply agreement with the battery company for cells for use in its own BESS.

The IPP announced in August 2021 that an order had been placed with the energy storage division of Chinese PV inverter maker Sungrow for six Texas projects. A representative for the company clarified to that Sungrow will supply the projects’ 1MVA power conversion system (PCS) power electronics, to be paired with CATL’s battery technology.

This story has been amended from its original form with an update on the Sungrow deal from Broad Reach Power.

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