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Power and capacity will be provided by Aggreko’s 4.5MWh Texas ‘legacy’ project

Notrees 36MW wind farm in Texas, where Aggreko M&SS (then Younicos) retrofitted an advanced lithium battery system to replace lead acid fitted by a previous project partner. Image: Younicos/Aggreko.

A large-scale battery storage system will be built in Texas for the US’ biggest electric utility cooperative, to time-shift solar-generated loads and provide grid services to transmission operator ERCOT.

Mobile energy solutions provider Aggreko, which recently took over German-US energy storage pioneers Younicos and incorporated it as a division of the parent company, announced to yesterday that it has signed an agreement for a 2.25MW / 4.5MWh battery storage project with Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC).

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According to Karim Wazni, managing director of Aggreko Microgrid and Storage Solutions (essentially formerly Younicos), the cooperative picked his company out for the project due to its existing track record of “active and successful participation in the ERCOT market”. Aggreko has already executed five battery projects in Texas, including the ongoing updates and upgrades of the large-scale battery system at Notrees Wind Farm.

The project is notable for two reasons: firstly that in addition to providing power services to ERCOT markets, the battery storage system, which should be capable of storing and discharging 2.25MW of power for two hours, will also provide energy capacity to the local network. As a general trend, customers for large-scale energy storage systems are now seeking this longer duration energy storage as well as the ability to use batteries for high powered, short duration applications, Saft’s Michael Lippert pointed out in a recent interview.

The second notable aspect for Aggreko Microgrid and Storage Solutions is that unlike other recent projects, and the projects it is currently working on going forwards, this project for PEC is an asset sale, as opposed to the mobile power ‘as-a-service’ or energy storage ‘as-a-service’ business model the company is rapidly becoming known for.

“In this case, the storage project is an asset sale, which is what the cooperative was looking for, not an as-a-service offer,” An Aggreko spokesperson told yesterday.

“Discussions on this project started a year or more ago, included recently signed state legislation to get to the finish line (due to Texas market rules regarding storage), and is what could be called a ‘legacy’ sale,” the representative said.

‘Value is in the combination of technologies, in modular and scalable solutions’

In an interview with Aggreko’s Karim Wazni, some of which will be published as a video feature on the YouTube channel in days to come, the MD emphasised this move to a an “as-a-service” model and said that the EPC model under which the company executed other projects such as the Roosecote 49MW battery in England for Centrica, completed about half a year ago, is one Aggreko Microgrid and Storage Solutions is moving away from.

Wazni did, however, say that “we’re moving towards a service model, but we’re still very interested to see what value we can bring to grid-connected markets…. We’re looking to being open to all offers where we can combine [resources including batteries and solar] and add value by the combination of our products that are modular and scalable”.

Going forwards, Aggreko is expected to unveil a large project in New York State soon which will provide National Grid with solutions to defer spending large sums expanding transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure in the next few days.

“We will be inaugurating a plant in New York State in two weeks, it’s a National Grid project where we’re providing 2MW of power for two hours, and that will be able to deliver peak shaving services to a substation,” Wazni said, adding that even these sorts of larger infrastructure projects could be done ‘as-a-service’.

“These markets are going to a service model as well, we believe, as they are quite suited in nature, there’s a temporary need to relieve the grid and the grid gets built up to the point where it makes sense to increase the capacity by a significant amount,” Wazni said.

“We want to explore that market with utilities as a partner because by providing storage at the bottlenecks of the grid fits well with the modularity and flexibility that we have in our business model.”

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