Biggest Texas Battery Project Yet Released by Vista
US utility Vistra has brought a 260 MW/260 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) online in Texas, the largest in the state.
Vistra said yesterday (May 23) that the DeCordova energy storage facility in Granbury, near Dallas, is online and participating in wholesale energy markets on the ERCOT grid, the state operator .
The BESS is located on the site of the natural gas-fired DeCordova Generating Station, operated by Vistra’s subsidiary, Luminant. It will capture excess electricity from the grid, particularly at night during peak wind generation hours, and release electricity during peak hours.
It uses containerized lithium-ion batteries with 3,000 individual modules. Vistra did not reveal the supplier of the modules (it used LG Energy Solution for its Moss Landing BESS energy storage facility, the largest in the world), but said Sungrow provided the inverters while the company Mortensen engineering provided “engineering and construction expertise”.
Jim Burke, President and CFO of Vistra, commented, “DeCordova offers a unique value proposition – not only can this battery system deliver instant full power to the grid at the flick of a switch, it is also co-located on the same site as our fast-start DeCordova natural gas power plant.
“This coupling means that we essentially have a large, hour-long battery system with reliable and dispatchable generation, leading to business continuity and grid resilience. Additionally, these gas-fired generating units have seven days of diesel backup in the event of a natural gas supply disruption, which is another example of the resilience aspect of the DeCordova site.
The DeCordova project was announced in 2020 by Vistra as part of a total of 1 GW of solar and energy storage the company plans on the ERCOT market, as it prepares to withdraw 6.8 GW of plants coal-fired power stations in Texas by 2027.
ERCOT is a completely decentralized energy market with no centralized capacity auctions like the UK’s capacity market or California’s ISO resource adequacy, meaning generators make all their money from trading energy and certain ancillary network services.
With some 45 GW of renewable energy resources online in the state at the end of 2021 according to American Clean Power, there is plenty of price volatility that BESS operators can capitalize on. Energy trading could account for up to half of BESS’s revenue, while network services such as Responsive Reserve Service (RRS) and Firm Frequency Response (FFR) make up the rest, according to investor Gore Street Capital. .
Based on ERCOT figures at the end of 2021, there would likely be between 1,300 and 2,800 MW of grid-connected storage in Texas at the time of writing. Although Vistra’s announcement mentions the approaching hot Texas summer, it is the devastating February 2021 winter storm that is seen as a pivotal moment in demonstrating the role storage can play on the state’s grid. .
Vistra aims to grow its zero-carbon portfolio to nearly 3,300 MW online by this summer and over 7,300 MW by 2026, which includes Moss Landing in California. The company plans to expand the Moss Landing energy storage facility project from its current 1,600 MWh to 3 GWh, although it has had some issues with the plant since it came online in early 2021. The overheating of certain modules put it offline a few months after the inauguration.