San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 20th, 2011
Kyle company lands contract for massive wind farm

Wind farms, like this one near Sterling City, are proliferating across the nation but still face challenges due to the inconsistent nature of wind generation. Kyle-based Xtreme Power says its power storage system makes wind-generated power more practical as a renewable energy resource. The company just scored a $43 million contract to design and build a storage system for what would be the world’s largest wind frarm in West Texas. COURTESY PHOTO

SUBMITTED REPORT

Kyle-based Xtreme Power has been awarded a $43 million contract to design, install and operate one of the world’s largest wind-power storage systems.

The storage system will serve Duke Energy’s 153-megawatt Notrees wind farm in West Texas.

“The Duke contract represents the single largest contract we’ve been awarded to date,” said Xtreme Power owner Carlos Coe. “It’s also the largest project of this type ever done in the world.”

Coe said his company’s workforce of 180 employees might grow to as many as 230 employees by the end of the year. About half of those new workers would be in Texas‚ most of them based in Kyle‚ with the other half at a second facility in Grove, Okla.

“If you look at our employment growth in Hays County, it’s been substantial,” Coe said, “and we expect that growth pattern to continue.”
Wind and solar power have been much hyped in recent years, but one of the barriers to expanded use of such renewable energy sources is that they are not consistently available. If the wind isn’t blowing, for instance, a wind turbine won’t generate electricity.

That’s where Xtreme Power steps in. Its massive battery systems store excess power during peak times and discharge the power when demand is highest.

“We can store power at a utility scale,” Coe said, “big enough to run an entire city or an entire town like a power plant and store power for as many hours as we need it, and redeliver it as we need it.”

Xtreme’s storage system at the Notrees wind farm will be able to store up to 36 megawatts of power.

The system will also be used to stabilize the state’s power grid. To that end, Duke and Xtreme Power will also be working with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages power flow for about 85 percent of Texas electric customers.

“ERCOT welcomes the announcement from Duke Energy and Xtreme Power to install large-scale batteries capable of storing electricity,” Mark Patterson, ERCOT manager of demand integration, said in an emailed statement. “We are actively working with stakeholders and policymakers to help identify and resolve any barriers to integrating new emerging storage technologies and appropriately address any grid reliability issues as they become known.”

The Notrees project is being partially funded by a $22 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Founded in 2004, Xtreme Power has several other projects in the works. In March, the company debuted a 15-megawatt battery storage system attached to a wind farm in Hawaii. Xtreme has also announced solar projects in New Mexico and in Colorado.

In addition, Xtreme Power is working out the details to build a battery storage system to support a Ford Motor Co. manufacturing facility in Michigan.

“What’s unique about that system, it’s one of the largest ever built inside a factory,” Coe said.

That plant, in Wayne, Mich., is where Ford builds its hybrid and electric vehicles.

“It’s the first time anybody used a large battery to charge a lot of small batteries,” Coe said.

Listen to audio about this story here.

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One thought on “Kyle company lands contract for massive wind farm

  1. FTA: … store up to 36 megawatts of power

    How much is the energy capacity of the battery? Did you mean store up 36 mega-watt-HOURS energy?

    Remember power energy.
    Power: A flow measured in watt (or MW).
    Energy: A quantity measured in joule or watt*time (e.g. MWh).

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