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Wind power battery facility opens - Odessa American: Business

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Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 5:30 am

NOTREES The largest wind energy battery project in the world attached to a wind farm was touted by executives and government leaders Thursday.

The Notrees Wind Farm and Battery Facility hosted an open house for its new battery project, which Plant Manager Casey Hayes said opened Dec. 27.

Duke Energy, the owner of the wind farm, matched a $22 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to built the battery project.

“It’s been exciting to see this project evolve from the very first day,” Hayes said. “It’s really an attempt to have a wind farm more mirror a typical energy plant.”

Ryan O’Keefe, the vice president of business development with Xtreme Power, the designer and engineer of the batteries, said the system is part of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid, and will give the grid more consistent power supply.

“It shook the renewable energy industry awake that storage is here and it’s available,” O’Keefe said.

The 153-Megawatt wind farm in Notrees now has a 36-MW battery facility, which O’Keefe said will hold enough electricity to power more than 10,000 homes.

Despite the large amount of energy, Hayes said it’s hardly anything in the grand scheme of the entire ERCOT grid.

According to Duke Energy, the storage project can use the batteries to store energy during non-peak periods from the wind turbines.

But O’Keefe said ever since the project was announced in 2009, a number of businesses throughout the United States have enquired about wind power batteries.

The more widespread the batteries, the bigger impact it has on the ERCOT grid, O’Keefe said.

U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, said he’s helped the project in his positions in congress with paving the way for transmission lines and other parts of the project.

“It’s always great to be on the cutting edge,” Gallego said. “I think we’re trendsetters. It really has a huge impact on our economy.”

Hayes said at the time the project was being discussed, Notrees was the largest Duke Energy wind farm and also had the most available land.

“We feel like and picture ourselves as paving the way for multiple facets of the industry anyway,” Hayes said about the Notrees facility. “We’re very excited.”

Imre Gyuk, the program manager for energy storage research with the Department of Energy, said when he took over the research 12 years ago, “it was nothing.”

But now that it’s becoming an industry, Gyuk said he’s pleased with how far they’ve come and with the Notrees project.

Because it’s only one battery facility, O’Keefe said this is just the first in a series of commercial wind energy battery projects that will need to be done to make a sizable difference.

“It’s been operating every day since (Dec. 27), and ERCOT is noticing,” O’Keefe said. “ERCOT is pleased.”

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