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Spearmint Energy begins commissioning of 150MW/300MWh Texas BESS project

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Developer Spearmint Energy is nearing the completion of its first project, a 150MW/300MWh battery storage system in Texas using Sungrow battery energy storage system (BESS) equipment.

Spearmint Energy said this morning that commissioning has begun at the project, called Revolution, which will participate in Texas’ ERCOT power market.

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Revolution uses Sungrow’s PowerTitan Series liquid-cooled BESS solution, with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry batteries. Sister site PV Tech ran a webinar with the Chinese PV inverter and energy storage manufacturer and integrator a few months ago, launching the PowerTitan product, which you can watch here.

Startup Spearmint was only founded in 2021, and has three strategic areas of focus: solar PV and battery storage project development, energy storage offtake and power trading of renewable energy.

CEO and founder Andrew Waranch wrote a Guest Blog for this site in July 2022, advocating for the use of battery storage in Texas to help the state integrate higher shares of variable renewable energy (VRE) from wind and solar onto the “broken” ERCOT grid, while maintaining reliability and security of supply.

Just a few days after that blog was published, Spearmint announced its acquisition of the Revolution project from Con Edison Development. Revolution is located next to a 279MW wind farm in Texas’ Upton County.   

The timeline of development kept pace, and in December 2022, Spearmint Energy broke ground on the project, hiring engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor Mortenson to work on it.

A few months after that, in March this year, Spearmint made further Texas acquisitions, buying three projects in ERCOT totalling 900MW from an undisclosed developer and operator of clean energy projects that Spearmint said was among the largest in the US.

ERCOT projected to reach 8GW, overtaking CAISO

Texas, and specifically the ERCOT grid and wholesale market which serves about 80% of the state, has become the fastest-growing utility-scale BESS market in the US by state or transmission grid in recent years, overtaking California.  

According to S&P Global, 70% of the 710MW total of new BESS deployed in the US in the first quarter of 2023, for example, was in ERCOT. Meanwhile, from an installed base of around 2GW as of the end of Q1, the market is expected to grow to 8GW by the end of 2023. California recently just passed the 5GW mark on its main CAISO grid.

This growth has led to discussion over when market saturation might be reached. Meanwhile, Spearmint Energy got involved in a high profile discussion over the merits of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven trading of energy from battery storage systems through the pages of this site.

A Spearmint Energy representative had said the company was sceptical of the value of so-called ‘black box’ optimisation, prompting David Miller, VP of business development at Gridmatic, one such optimiser, to offer the rebuttal that the financial results should speak for themselves.

Prudence Heck and Andrew Young of Spearmint Energy’s analytics and development team wrote a Guest Blog published on this site yesterday, debating the leveraging of AI and machine learning versus the need for human intervention in the optimisation of BESS market participation.

This article has been amended to reflect that Andrew Waranch is founder of Spearmint Energy and not a co-founder, as was originally stated.

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