Solar Power and Bess Integration in Oil Country

Ulteig’s System Integration and SCADA Services Team Integrates Solar Power Plant and Battery Energy Storage System in West Texas’ Oil Basin

Midland, Texas – As oil and gas companies harvest oil and natural gas through wells that go from a few hundred feet to five miles underground, on the surface, a Danish renewable energy company is harvesting the power of the sun.

In the oil basin of West Texas, which generates 40 percent of all oil production in the United States and nearly 15 percent of its natural gas production, one of the largest solar projects in the U.S. was recently commissioned for operation.

This solar project consists of a 460 MW (AC) solar power plant featuring 420 MW of solar PV and 40 MW of battery storage located on a 3,600-acre site alongside an existing oil and gas installation. Supplying a growing demand in West Texas for electricity, the project’s 1.3 million solar panels will generate enough clean energy to power more than 80,000 homes.

Ulteig’s Systems Integration and SCADA team was chosen to provide SCADA integration for both the solar PV as well as the project’s battery energy storage system (BESS). Besides its size and the fact that Texas’ electrical grid, ERCOT, offers unique challenges, Ulteig faced another demanding challenge – building a system that could participate in ERCOT’s fast frequency response (FFR) market with a 250 milliseconds response time requirement. This self-dispatched service requires up to full output of the BESS within 15 cycles and must maintain output between 95%-105% throughout the dispatch period.

Ulteig was also thrown for a loop when it proceeded to commission the new solar power plant and BESS when a four-day major winter storm paralyzed the entire state of Texas. Based on a solid plan, the Ulteig team was able to successfully deliver for the client and commission the power plant during the storm and use it to provide much needed power.

“It was an incredible opportunity for us. Coupling battery storage with solar PV was new for our client, and important for Texas,” said McKenzie Santin, Associate Director of Energy within Ulteig’s Power and Renewables group. “We are seeing a growing interest in adding battery storage to solar projects and we anticipate more of these types of projects in the future.”