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Luminant turns on ‘biggest BESS’ in Texas

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

A 10-megawatt lithium-ion battery energy storage system in Texas has started operations as the state’s biggest such facility to date.

Power generation business Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy, said the 42-megawatt-hour BESS is the seventh largest in the US.

The BESS is on the site of Luminant's 180-megawatt Upton 2 Solar Power Plant in Upton Count. The battery system captures excess solar energy produced at Upton 2 during the day and can release the power in late afternoon and early evening, when Luminant said demand by system operator the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is highest.

“The battery system can also take advantage of low-priced grid power— during times of high wind output, for example— to charge the batteries to be available for higher demand periods,” Luminant said.

Vistra is also developing “the world's largest battery energy storage project”, the 300MW/1,200MWh storage system at its Moss Landing Power Plant in California, scheduled for commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2020.

In 2018, the US Department of Energy announced a $30 million shot in the arm for energy storage research— part of an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy programme aimed at developing “innovative technologies for long-duration energy storage on the power grid”.

In a related development, US energy regulators blocked a move by a utility to “discriminate” against customers using battery storage units.

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