Burns & McDonnell completes 60 MWh energy storage project in West Texas

Engineering consulting firm Burns & McDonnell completed construction of three 10 MW/20 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage systems in West Texas.

Last May, the company was selected by LG Energy Solution and Sustainable Environmental Renewable (SER) Capital Partners to provide engineer-procure-construct (EPC) services for the projects, which consist of LG Chem battery racks populated with JH3 and JH4 modules.

Kansas City-based Burns & McDonnell tapped its direct-hire subsidiary Ref-Chem to complete construction and installation of the batteries. When Burns & McDonnell was selected, the company said containers would be shipped to the job site, with empty racks prewired to direct current combiner panels and alternating current auxiliary panels.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning design consists of direct expansion cooling units to provide cooled and conditioned air to the building, as well as to the face of the battery racks to maintain consistent temperatures.

The storage projects are designed as stand-alone energy resources to help reduce rolling blackouts and support Texas’ power grid as supply and demand fluctuates. Under its scope of work, Burns & McDonnell integrated Emerson’s Ovation automation software, which increases visibility into battery operations for better asset monitoring and control. The technology allows the operator to view, optimize and modify the system controls even years after commissioning if system requirements change.

Burns & McDonnell said it took five months for the three sites to be constructed, commissioned and put into operation. The company said its team faced challenges like an especially rainy summer, impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and congestion at maritime ports and customs.

“I’m excited about what we accomplished with LG Energy Solution and SER on this project,” said Matt Domeier, director of EPC storage at Burns & McDonnell. “The battery storage units will provide reliable and resilient energy to West Texas.”

The projects will help back up intermittent renewable energy from wind and solar power.

According to a new report from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), greater deployment of storage with up to 12 hours of duration can increase efficiency of operations by reducing overgeneration, decreasing generator starts and emissions, and increasing utilization of the transmission system.

NREL’s Storage Futures Study found that storage will become an important contributor to the bulk power system, reaching 132 GW of deployed storage capacity in the United States by 2050, even using conservative storage cost assumptions.


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