Texas makes wind energy strides

German company starts construction on a system that will store energy generated from the wind in lithium-ion batteries.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Sept. 6, 2017 at 5:48 AM
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Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Two wind farms in Texas will become the second- and third-largest facilities with extra storage capacity installed so far, a German power company said.

German energy company E.ON said it started construction on a 20 megawatt storage facility to service its Inadale and Pyron wind facilities in the west of Texas.

"With both the industrial-scale 10 MW plants, E.ON is expanding its role as an important player in the North American power storage market," the company said in a statement. "These are the second and third-largest lithium ion battery systems which are connected to the network which E.ON has installed in the United States."

By state, Texas, the No. 1 oil producer in the United States, has the most installed wind power capacity on the grid and the most in the first quarter with 724 megawatts. In March, the German company said wind farms are becoming more cost-competitive, with the budget for the Texas projects coming in below what similar projects cost in 2009.

A quarterly report from the American Wind Energy Association found the sector is gaining traction. Compared with last year, there were 40 percent more wind energy projects under construction or advancing through the development stage during the second quarter. Nation-wide, more than two dozen wind projects, representing a combined 3,841 MW, started construction or advanced toward construction during the second quarter.

Most of the wind turbine construction is concentrated in the U.S. Midwest and Texas.

E.ON said the power storage facilities in Texas will be in service by the end of the year. Its first system, a 10 megawatt storage facility at the Iron Horse wind farm in Arizona, is already in service. By storing the power generated from wind in lithium batteries, E.ON said it was adding a layer of reliability to renewable energy.

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