AMS sees potential in helping change the Texas energy market to one based more on the sun. Pic: Pixabay.
By Jason Deign
San Francisco, USA-based Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) is expanding into Texas as part of moves to grow its presence outside its core California market.
The company this month announced a USD$3.24m US Department of Energy grant-funded project with Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), of central Texas, to investigate the use of storage with distributed solar generation.
The news came hot on the heels of another deal, with Texas Electric Cooperatives (TEC), to showcase a 200kWh AMS installation and offer energy storage systems at preferential rates to TEC’s member cooperatives.
“TEC is the co-op of co-ops,” said Manal Yamout, vice president of policy at AMS. “They have 75 co-op members, and what TEC does for them is bulk-buy poles and wires and now AMS batteries.”
The partnership is essentially a distribution deal that opens the door for AMS to sell batteries and services to consumer-owned electric cooperatives serving 2m homes and businesses in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
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Energy storage in Texas: with solar and wind energy plus favourable legislation, could the home of the oil boom, not California, become the model to follow? Photo: SolarWorld
Texas. It has always been of huge and obvious importance to the US energy economy, both as a producer of hydrocarbons and as a massive consumer, thanks to its enormous geographical area and its position as a vital component of the US’s industrial heartland.Its huge and growing appetite for energy currently totals around 30,000GWh annually. Increasingly, that burgeoning hunger for more power is being met by sources of renewable energy.
Renewable energy in Texas
As a state, Texas is the wind power capital of the US, with 12GW of operational utility-scale wind capacity, which recently succeeded in generating 29% of total electricity load for the entire state, albeit for a brief moment. The usual figure averages around 9%.
A key element of Texas’s wind strategy was the recent completion of the CREZ project to connect windy, relatively unpopulated West Texas with the state’s urban centres.
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Dresser-Rand Group has been awarded a contract to supply equipment for a 317MW compressed air energy storage (CAES) facility by Apex Compressed Air Energy Storage. The deal is worth around a cool USD$200m and the CAES facility will be built near Tennessee Colony, Texas. Named the Apex Bethel Energy Centre, it is noteworthy for being the first CAES facility to be built in the United States since 1991.
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There was jubilation in the energy storage sector when the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research was announced by the US Department of Energy, especially from those institutions, such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, that will be participating. But not everyone is smiling.
As reported in the Austin Globe, the Texas Battery and Energy Storage Consortium, which was formed specifically to compete for a stake in the hub, has lost out to the organisations based around the Argonne National Laboratory, in Illinois.