Grid batteries boosting natural gas in Texas — report

By Jason Plautz | 05/28/2024 06:36 AM EDT

Batteries are increasingly acting as backup power for renewables, freeing up gas generators to run more frequently.

Portland General Electric announced plans for a large energy storage facility in Oregon. A similar installation in Texas is pictured.

An energy storage facility in Texas is shown. Portland General Electric Co.

The boom in batteries on the Texas grid has saved hundreds of millions of dollars and kept the electricity system from collapsing during extreme weather events, according to a new report.

But in a paradox, the batteries that are touted as a perfect partner for renewable power are also supporting more natural gas generation. That’s because batteries are increasingly acting as backup power, freeing up gas generators that previously served that role to run more frequently to meet the state’s growing electricity demand.

The report from power market analytics firm Aurora Energy Research found that the state’s installed battery capacity grew from near zero in 2020 to more than 4,000 megawatts in January 2024. That’s enough to serve 1 million homes during a period of peak demand in the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market, which serves 90 percent of the state.


Texas is the country’s second-largest battery market after California, where more than 72,000 MW of capacity was installed as of January. With a hands-off regulatory environment and growing renewable power, the ERCOT region is expected to more than double its battery fleet this year, adding 6,400 MW, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.