Quinbrook subsidiary GlidePath breaks ground on 50MW/50MWh Texas battery project

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GlidePath’s Prospect project, brought online in 2019, was one of the first projects of its kind in Texas’ ERCOT market. Image: GlidePath.

Energy storage asset developer and owner GlidePath has begun construction of a 50MW/50MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) project in Texas.

The company, in the portfolio of energy transition-focused investment manager Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, said yesterday that it has finished designing, procuring equipment and financing on its Byrd Ranch Storage Project. 

Located in Sweeny, a small city in Texas’ Brazoria County, the project is scheduled for quick turnaround and completion in time for summer. 

As with the many other BESS projects of increasing size and energy capacity being deployed in the southern US state, the system will be connected to the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid.

Byrd Ranch will provide multiple grid-balancing services through its participation in ERCOT’s wholesale market opportunities, earning money from multiple revenue streams. GlidePath said artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms tailored to optimise its routes-to-market are being developed to meet ERCOT’s requirements and opportunities. 

While ERCOT’s merchant market conditions are somewhat unique, the company said learnings from the Byrd Ranch system’s operation will feed into the developer’s plans to use similar algorithmic forecasting and dispatch at other sites across the US.

The 2.5 acre project will contribute around half a million dollars a year in property taxes. GlidePath said it worked with local community stakeholders to minimise its visual and sound impacts. It has also been designed with weatherisation and resiliency in mind.   

GlidePath is something of a pioneer of the US energy storage market, having been involved in the market since 2013. It was the developer of Jake and Elwood, two of the first megawatt-scale BESS projects that delivered frequency regulation services into the PJM Interconnection market. 

That market opened up in the mid-2010s, as PJM Interconnection, which spans parts or all of more than 10 states, introduced a pay-for-performance structure rewarding the ability of lithium-ion batteries to respond in fractions of a second to grid signals. 

GlidePath was also one of the first to build a megawatt-scale BESS in Texas which connected to ERCOT, with its 10MW/10MWh Prospect Energy Storage project brought online in 2019. System equipment and integration was provided by ESS manufacturer Powin Energy for Prospect. 

Texas has quickly become one of the US’ hottest energy storage markets, along with California and to a lesser extent states including Hawaii, New York and Arizona. Prospect has been overtaken rapidly by other projects for scale, with a number of new systems over 100MW already online or in construction, while more recently announced BESS projects with one and a half hour to two-hour duration batteries have started to spring up, versus one-hour duration at Prospect and Byrd Ranch.  

GlidePath CEO Chris McKissack said that the company now has more than 70 standalone energy storage and solar-plus-storage projects in a 12GWh development pipeline across 20 US states

Another development company in Quinbrook’s portfolio, Primergy, announced this week that it has been granted approval to sell two solar-plus-storage projects totalling 600MWac of solar PV and 480MW of battery storage to utility NV Energy in Nevada.  

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