Wärtsilä to supply and maintain two major interconnected energy storage systems for Texas grid services

Source: press release, 15 March 2021

200 MW of energy storage systems to enable continued growth of wind and solar in the ERCOT market by providing balancing and grid quality services
200 MW of energy storage systems to enable continued growth of wind and solar in the ERCOT market by providing balancing and grid quality services (illustration: Wärtsilä Corporation)

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply its advanced energy storage technology for two major projects in southern Texas, USA. The interconnected stand-alone systems will have a combined rated capacity of 200 MW. Wärtsilä has also signed 10-year guaranteed asset performance agreements for the installations. The order was placed by Able Grid Energy Solutions, Inc., a utility-scale energy storage project development arm of MAP RE/ES, a North American investor in modern energy projects. The order was booked by Wärtsilä in February 2021.

The Madero and Ignacio energy storage plants will deliver valuable grid support to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the body responsible for managing the electric supply to more than 25 million customers. Wärtsilä will supply its next-generation, fully integrated GridSolv Quantum energy storage solution. The modular solution is designed for ease of deployment and sustainable energy optimisation. The energy storage systems will also feature Wärtsilä’s GEMS smart energy management platform to monitor and control the flow of energy, enabling these projects to provide grid support for critical periods during extreme weather or grid instability conditions, such as those that Texas has recently experienced.

“Able Grid selected Wärtsilä technology, among other considerations, for its critical safety and cyber-security features. The system complies with all applicable standards, like UL9540A, to ensure sustained safe and reliable operations. In addition, the GEMS Power Plant Controller is U.S.-code based and meets all IEC62443 cybersecurity standards,” comments Sharon Greenberg, Able Grid Chief Operating Officer.

“The Madero and Ignacio projects will participate in the existing ERCOT wholesale electricity market, delivering key ancillary services required for grid stability, including frequency regulation. Years of development by forward-looking innovators like Wärtsilä now allow us to deploy market-driven solutions that will improve electricity grid reliability and performance while enabling further decarbonisation of electricity markets,” adds Aaron Zubaty, CEO of MAP RE/ES.

“Energy storage is rapidly becoming a key asset for the global energy markets and Wärtsilä has a leading position in this field. In the planning of these installations, we were able to provide solid expertise based on our depth of experience in energy storage, and this added considerable value to our energy optimisation capabilities,” says Risto Paldanius, Vice President, Americas, Wärtsilä Energy.

The projects’ 10-year Wärtsilä Guaranteed asset performance agreements will enable flexibility in system maintenance and operation in order to maximise revenue in the ERCOT market. The agreements include maintenance services, an availability guarantee, and a flexible capacity guarantee based on usage.

The systems are expected to become fully operational starting in January 2022.

Able Grid will provide construction management and operational asset management services for the facility, which is owned by a privately held energy storage power producer currently building multiple utility-scale energy storage projects across the US. Since its founding in 2016, Able Grid’s focus has been on investing in communities and markets where energy storage will generate long-term value to utilities that manage diverse energy portfolios, providing low-cost and sustainable power for their customers. MAP RE/ES has been an innovating and leading investor in renewable energy projects since 2005 and has directly funded the development of more than 16,000 MW of operating wind and solar generating capacity located across the United States.