CPS Energy Plans Storage Project Using Quidnet’s Geomechanical Pumped Technology

Energy Storage

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Mar 7, 2022

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Energy Storage

(Credit: Pixabay)

Texas-based CPS Energy will use Quidnet’s geomechanical pumped storage technology to provide a commercial energy storage project.

The project will be developed in two phases, beginning with a 1 megawatt, 10-hour storage facility. The companies’ agreement spans 15 years to allow them to continue advancing the technology, and CPS Energy will have the option to expand the energy storage offering to 15 megawatts as the project develops.

The geomechanical pumped storage technology pumps water underground and stores it between impermeable rock layers. The rock performs like a nature spring and holds the water under pressure.

When it is time to use the energy storage from the process for electricity, the pressurized water is released to power a hydroelectric turbine that then generates emissions-free electricity. The entire process is closed loop to conserve water resources.

The technology is a form of pumped hydro storage, which the US Department of Energy says accounts for nearly 95% of the country’s capacity. The agency says the first uses of pumped hydro storage were in Switzerland in the 1890s and in the US in 1930.

It is deployable in diverse geographies that were previously considered unsuitable for hydro development, the companies say.

Pumped hydro is among the expanding energy storage technologies that businesses are using to improve energy efficiency, with battery and thermal energy storage among the uses. Energy storage installations are expected to be 20-times higher in 2030 than they were in 2020, according to BloombergNEF, and Google and Microsoft are among companies that have joined the Long Duration Energy Storage Council to encourage further implementation of emissions-free energy use.

Texas has also seen other large energy storage projects, including a 181 megawatt hybrid development in the Dallas area called the Lily Solar + Storage Plant.

Quidnet has developed Texas energy sites in Medina and San Saba counties. The company is also working on pilot projects in Ohio, New York and Alberta, Canada. Quidnet has received support in developing the technology from the US Department of Energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and Emissions Reduction Alberta.

CPS Energy, which provides electric and natural gas services in the San Antonio area, will also use EPIcenter’s Innovation Management program to support the utility’s decision making regarding the energy storage, the company says. It will use that platform to help CPS Energy leaders to vet and implement new technologies. The company says the energy storage project is in line with its goal to reduce net emissions by 80% by 2040.

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