Berkman Energy Storage

Enhanced Reliability, Bolstered Resiliency, and Sustained Economic Benefit for League City.

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What is Energy Storage & Why Here?

Illustration of of the Bear Ridge Solar Project facility and study areasJust like charging your phone while you sleep, energy storage systems efficiently and conveniently capture electricity so that it can be used when it’s most needed. Grid-connected energy storage doesn’t move or emit any pollution. The system consists of batteries, racks for the batteries, and inverters that convert the energy so that it can be transmitted. There is also safety equipment and communications equipment that allows 24/7 control and monitoring of the batteries. While energy storage may seem like a recent technology, several types of energy storage have been utilized for more than a century, and the oldest battery storage projects currently in operation have been serving the electrical grid for more than a decade. The demand for electricity in League City and the surrounding area is growing and projects like battery energy storage systems are an answer to the volatile grid supply and demand felt by people all over Texas. This location is close to an electrical substation and power line in need of more capacity. Additionally, after studying all environmental considerations, we determined that this was an ideal location.

How will this project impact my power bill?

Energy storage can capture energy in times of abundance and low cost for later use in times of high demand and cost. When retail power providers and utilities can purchase energy at lower wholesale rates, especially in peak demand, those energy and fuel savings can be passed through to consumers.

What type of batteries are used in the system?

Cypress Creek exclusively sources Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) cells from Tier 1 suppliers, meeting the strictest quality and safety requirements. LFP battery cells, in addition to having superior thermal properties, do not utilize cobalt and nickel metals, the extraction and processing of which have been associated with human rights issues and environmental damage.

What happens in the unlikely event of a fire?

Battery fires occur very rarely and only due to extreme circumstances. The likelihood of fire is substantially lower in grid-scale energy storage systems compared to consumer products due to multiple layers of engineered safety features. Energy storage systems are designed and tested in accordance with strict national fire safety standards to ensure that any event is contained in an efficient manner with no adverse impact to the public or adjacent property.

Further, Cypress Creek closely collaborates with first responders early and throughout the project to ensure they are fully trained on Emergency Response Procedures associated with our battery storage systems. Safety is incorporated into every aspect of design in our battery storage systems:

• Safety is one reason that we have selected Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) cells as our preferred battery technology. LFP cells have superior thermal properties compared to other commercially available lithium-ion batteries.

• Battery racks in the system are equipped with sensors that continuously monitor battery temperature and performance, allowing the system to take automatic preventative measures.

• The engineered containers utilize liquid cooling and other thermal management systems including fans, ventilation, and heating and cooling equipment to maintain optimal performance and safe operating temperatures for the battery cells.

• The containers also include equipment designed to instantly detect and mitigate abnormal conditions, with automatic and remote functionality. Fireproof barriers within the system, along with engineered ventilation and layout, allow for safe heat dissipation and fire containment.

The above cross section is a side view of the inside of a typical energy storage container

Are these systems held to any nationally recognized safety standards?

Energy storage systems are considered critical electrical infrastructure and are held to similar standards such as the National Fire Protection Associations Standard 855 and numerous Underwriter Laboratories (UL) standards including 9540A testing and Standard 9540 manufacturing standards for Energy Storage Systems. They also must comply with the 2021 International Fire Code and the U.S National Electric Code.

In addition, Cypress Creek has agreed to provide League City Emergency Services with its own monitoring equipment, an Emergency Response Plan (ERP), an Emergency Preparedness Bond in the amount of $200,000, and an incident study that highlights the result of a worst-case scenario thermal runaway event.

On May 10th 2024 League City published a study that spoke to the safety & location of the Berkman Energy Storage project. 

"At this point in the process, the issue is safety. Can the Berkman ESS units be installed, operated, and maintained in a manner that does not present an unusual risk to the community at large, and specifically the nearby residential occupancies? The answer is yes, if we step back and look at the issue from the standpoint that any permitted use, in any zone, can suffer a fire event that must be responded to and mitigated in a manner that protects the public. All fire events produce potentially harmful and toxic products of combustion. All fire events also hold the potential for contaminated runoff."

Robert Davidson

Who is responsible for maintenance?

Once constructed, energy storage systems require minimal maintenance. Electrical engineers will service the inverters and transformers on average once per quarter. The system is monitored both locally and remotely and most systems are either automated or can be activated or turned off remotely.

How is Energy Storage Beneficial?

While we understand there are concerns, the project also has benefits. There will be an estimated $9.8 million tax benefit to the community. Over half of that will go to Clear Creek Independent School District. The remainder will go to League City and Galveston County. This benefit is uniquely high for the small number of acres (4.8) and is due to the value of the equipment. There will be no noise, no expected traffic, and no drain on city services due to this project. Cypress Creek is committed to transparent, responsible development and long-term community partnerships and investments, in addition to the jobs we create and the tax revenue we generate. Now and throughout the 20-year life of the project, should it be approved, we will strive to be an asset to League City.

  • Enhances Reliability & Resiliency - Storage provides dispatchable (on demand) power and contributes to Texas's reserves - those energy reserves which fell dangerously short during Winter Storms Uri and Elliot.

  • Sustained Economic Benefit - Provides generous property tax revenues to support local community, schools, roads, infrastructure, etc.

  • Minimal Development Impact – No operational traffic to and from the site, No air, sound, or smell related pollution.

  • Lowers Cost of Energy - Storage can respond instantly to grid and market operator (ERCOT) needs and helps mitigate local energy price volatility.

Is Energy Storage Prevalent in Texas today?

The above is a sample ERCOT storage graph for March 20, 2024. It shows the existing batteries across Texas charging at night and in the afternoon when folks are using less power (in blue) and then discharging in the morning before work and in the early evening when power demand typically peaks (in red).

As of today there's approximately 7,691MWs of Battery Energy Storage systems operating in ERCOT. Energy storage is the most efficient, affordable, quick to deploy, and reliable way to help manage supply and demand on the grid and use the energy resources Texas has efficiently. Adding more Energy Storage adds resilience and reliability to League City and the entire region.

No matter how commonplace the technology is, how carefully the project is sited, or how rare a safety incident might be, no community wants to be at risk. We appreciate your comments, and we are dedicated to addressing the community's questions and being a good neighbor.

Your feedback is extremely important to us. Currently we are holding community meetings and are available for any group or individual who would like to meet with us to learn more about battery energy storage or the project. 

Please reach out to us directly at (828) 367-9035 or by using the contact form below.

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