Texas to get its largest battery, coupled with its largest solar power plant

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Most of the renewable energy news we hear coming from Texas is that it has built the nation’s largest fleet of wind power – which is in large part by socializing the cost of power lines to bring that power to the state’s population centers.

And as a result of this, the economic viability of the state’s coal fleet is being stressed and shut down. Sometime soon – perhaps in 2018 – Texas may see more electricity generated from wind than coal.

Big hat and a respectfully-sized field of cattle.

But that is not all. The state is finally getting some Texas-sized energy storage – and it is being added to Texas’ largest solar power plant. In a powerpoint delivered by Vistra Energy on investor day, they referenced the upcoming energy storage project.

The AC-coupled facility will be a 10 MW / 42 MWh lithium ion battery. In its documentation, Vistra Energy notes that the solar power plant has a peak output of ‘nearly 200 MW,’ even though its interconnection application is only 180 MW.

Thus, the energy storage plant will be used to capture the power that is being clipped. The powerpoint also states that the batteries can be charged during lower priced periods overnight, and discharged in the morning, to arbitrage the difference in prices.

The presentation suggests the energy storage facility will be used to firm up the capacity being delivered by the solar power plant. In the above image, they present a case for ‘wider shoulders’ during peak solar power production, along with more consistent, predictable and slightly extended ramp-up and ramp-down periods.

The presentation also suggests that the project is eligible for the Investment Tax Credit and bonus depreciation. The IRS has already ruled that residential energy storage added in at a later time is eligible for these tax benefits.