HOUSTONRidge Energy Storage (RES), a Houston-based developer of compressed air energy storage projects (CAES) in the United States and England, has entered into an exclusive arrangement with Texas Brine Co. LLC (TBC) to develop CAES projects at all U.S. brine production sites belonging to or under lease by Texas Brine. Each of the proposed plant sites has access to natural gas pipelines, high voltage transmission and ample supplies of fresh water. The agreement places emphasis on operations in the southern U.S. where there is a substantial difference in the demand for electrical power between day and night.
Because most of the Texas Brine sites have existing salt caverns, the RES/Texas Brine agreement enables CAES facilities to be built quickly and efficiently, and will provide a desirable alternative to less efficient peaking plants in order to accommodate the region's growth in energy usage. In the event a new cavern needs to be constructed, Texas Brine will provide customers for the brine.
"The partnership between RES and Texas Brine combines the expertise of RES in developing, engineering, constructing and operating combustion turbine power-generating facilities with the experience of Texas Brine in constructing and operating underground storage facilities," said Rodney Webb, RES president.
Salt caverns are a commonly used form of underground storage for gases and liquids in the U.S. For more than 40 years, salt caverns have been used to store liquid and gas hydrocarbons.
CAES is an environmentally friendly, cost-effective method of storing large quantities of energy in underground storage caverns in the form of high-pressure air. A CAES plant uses electricity to compress air for storage in an underground cavern at night and during weekends when system demands and prices are low. During weekdays, when system demands and prices are high, the compressed air is recovered from the cavern and converted back into electricity using a modified gas turbine. This modification enables CAES to produce electricity with emissions reductions of over 60 percent compared to plants of similar size. In addition, CAES plants use only about 50 percent of the natural gas required by other combustion turbine configurations to produce a kilowatt-hour of electrical power.
"Texas Brine is pleased to be part of such an innovative and compelling application of new technology," said Ted Grabowski, TBC president and CEO. "We believe this represents a unique opportunity to help satisfy current and future electricity requirements in an efficient, safe and environmentally sensitive manner."