AUSTIN - New data from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) finds that battery storage grew from 469 megawatts (MW) in September to 833 MW in October, a remarkable 77% increase in just one month. This dramatic growth in battery storage comes as funding from the federal infrastructure bill is poised to increase battery storage even further.
“Battery storage is key to a cleaner, more reliable electric grid,” said Lennis Barlow, Clean Energy Associate with Environment Texas Research & Policy Center. “It is incredible to see how much progress Texas has made in such a short amount of time. Texans can look forward to a cleaner, healthier future, thanks in part to the adoption of batteries that will enable us to better tap our renewable energy potential.”
The battery storage industry will receive a significant boost as a result of the recently signed Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill with $6 billion for battery supply chain investments, $3 billion for battery manufacturing, $3 billion for grid flexibility, and half a billion dollars for energy storage demonstration projects.
Battery storage technologies can help to enable a 100% renewable energy future by storing excess energy for later use. This additional storage also allows for a more flexible grid that can adapt to evolving sources of demand, such as electric vehicles, and new sources of local generation, such as rooftop solar panels. In this way, battery storage will play an important role in providing backup power that enhances community resilience in the face of disaster without increasing dependence on fossil fuels.
As of 2020, Texas ranked second in the nation in growth in battery storage since 2011, according to a recent report by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center. The report finds Texas had just 5 MW of battery storage in 2011. Since then, over the course of just ten years, Texas has experienced a 16,000% increase in battery storage capacity.
The report indicates that this level of battery storage growth will not be stopping anytime soon. According to ERCOT, dozens of battery storage projects are under development, with the potential to add an additional 3000 MW by March 2023. This figure, however, does not include small-scale storage under 1 MW, with Tesla alone selling over 200,000 Powerwall home batteries in 2021.
One notable example of future growth in Texas battery storage is the Tesla battery storage facility, which will be located 40 miles outside of Houston. This facility, first announced in March 2021, will add an additional 100 MW of storage to the Texas grid.
Additionally, a California-based energy company is planning to invest $1.15 billion in Caldwell county for the building and maintenance of two solar power and battery storage facilities. These facilities will hire approximately 400 full time workers and add an estimated 600 MW of storage to the grid.
This analysis comes as the state and its leadership, still reeling from the widespread failure of the power grid following Winter Storm Uri, are under significant pressure to increase the reliability of Texas’s electricity supply.
Environment Texas Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit www.environmentTexascenter.org.