Duke Energy and the US Dept. of Energy announced on November 27 that they would be each provide $22 million to design and install large scale storage batteries at Duke Energy’s Notrees wind farm in West Texas.
Power generated at Notrees is transmitted to the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). ERCOT operates the Texas electric grid and manages the deregulated market for 75 percent of the state. Bounce Energy is a retail electricity provider in the ERCOT serving the cities of Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and many other cities throughout the state.
Notrees uses 95 wind turbines and generates 150 megawatts. The storage battery project is slated to store 20 megawatts of power. Excess power can be stored in batteries during low demand periods and later transmitted during peak demand. In this way, the need for building additional gas or coal power plants is avoided.
Large capacity storage batteries for electrical grid use is already a proven technology to help bridge generating capacity and demand. Two battery types are currently in use: the Sodium Sulfur battery (NaS) and the Vanadium Redox Flow battery (VRB) . Both large scale battery systems are relatively compactly sized, long lived, and able to handle electrical loads in the megawatt range.
The upshot is this is good news for not only green power consumers in the ERCOT region but all those who have Texas electric service. By using power storage facilities, power utilities can save millions of dollars on generating operation costs, new construction costs, and even environmental retro-fitting costs. And all of this means lower electricity rates for the consumer.