Plus Power's storage facility, being built on 13 acres in Comal County, is scheduled to come online this spring. Photo courtesy of Plus Power

The Woodlands-based Plus Power has collected an estimated $98 million tax equity investment for its 200-megawatt Ebony Energy Storage facility near San Antonio.

Plus Power says the investment from Solana Beach, California-based Greenprint Capital Management will help stabilize the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power system “during dynamic summer demand and cold winter storms while helping to integrate more renewable energy into the grid.”

The storage facility, being built on 13 acres in Comal County, is scheduled to come online this spring.

Peter DeFazio, managing director of Greenprint, calls Plus Power “a first mover” among owner-operators of standalone battery energy storage facilities in the U.S. Plus Power owns a portfolio of large-scale lithium-ion battery systems in more than 25 states and Canada.

“As the state and the country experience increasingly extreme temperatures, we are proud that our projects can provide grid services that will help ERCOT increase reliability and meet abnormally high demand,” says Josh Goldstein, chief financial officer of Plus Power.

By this summer, Plus Power expects to be operating four storage plants in the ERCOT market with 800 megawatts of total capacity.

Plus Power announced in 2023 that it completed a $1.8 billion financing for Ebony and four other projects in Texas and Arizona. The financing included $196 million in construction and term financing for the Comal County project.

Five of Plus Power's projects received financing from nearly a dozen financial partners. Photo courtesy of Plus Power

Houston renewable energy storage developer secures $1.8B in financing

money moves

A Houston company that develops standalone battery energy storage systems has reportedly secured $1.8 billion in new financing for a handful of ongoing projects — most of which are in Texas.

"Over the last year, Plus Power has raised an unparalleled amount of capital for standalone storage projects from a wide range of leading energy project finance banks and investors," Josh Goldstein, CFO of Plus Power, says in a news release. "This capital will support the ongoing buildout of the largest and most diverse portfolio of standalone storage projects in the U.S. The scale highlights our first-mover advantage in bringing high-quality projects to market as well as the tremendous work by our fantastic team."

The funding will be distributed to the following projects, which are expected to have a total of 1,040 megawatts of capacity, according to the release:

  • The 250-megawatt Sierra Estrella Energy Storage facility in Avondale, Arizona, west of Phoenix will use $707 million of the financing — $202 million of tax equity and a $505 million construction, term loan, and letter of credit facility from Bank of America. Expected to deliver by summer of next year, the 11-acre facility will be the largest to date for a standalone energy storage project, according to Plus Power.
  • $212.2 million of tax equity financing from Foss & Company, as well as $276 million of construction and term financing, for the 300 MW / 600 MWh Rodeo Ranch Energy Storage facility in Pecos.
  • $196 million of construction and term financing for the 200 MW / 400 MWh Ebony Energy Storage facility in Comal County, northeast of San Antonio.
  • $200 million of construction and term financing for the 200 MW / 400 MWh Anemoi Energy Storage facility in Hidalgo County, on the Mexican border northwest of Matamoros.
  • $196 million construction, term loan and letter of credit facility for the 90 MW / 360 MWh Superstition Energy Storage project in Gilbert, southeast of Phoenix.

The $884 million committed to three new standalone storage facilities in Texas bring Plus Power's current ERCOT portfolio to 800 MW. Deutsche Bank and First Citizens Bank were the coordinating lead arrangers, per the news release.

"Plus Power is a market leader in the battery energy storage sector and we are honored to have collaborated with them on these breakthrough financings," Jeremy Eisman, managing director and head of Infrastructure & Energy Financing at Deutsche Bank, says in a statement. "We acknowledge the important role that battery storage plays in ensuring a clean and reliable electric grid and look forward to continuing to support the Plus Power team's continued growth in this sector."

Plus Power's portfolio includes large-scale lithium-ion battery systems across 25 states and Canada. The company reports that three of the projects will be completed before next year's summer heat rolls back in.

Originally founded in San Francisco in 2018, Plus Power moved its HQ to Houston last year. The company recently signed a lease for nearly 7,000 square feet at Three Hughes Landing in The Woodlands. The company previously was based in coworking space at the Rayford Office Park in Spring.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston's energy industry deemed both a strength and weakness on global cities report

mixed reviews

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

———

This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

New collaboration to build data center microgrid in Houston

coming soon

Two companies are teaming up to build a natural gas microgrid in Houston that will reduce emissions by 98 percent.

Provider of prime and backup power solutions RPower has teamed up with Houston’s ViVaVerse Solutions to build a 17-megawatt (MW) microgrid at the ViVa Center campus in Houston, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year.

The microgrid plans to employ ultra-low emissions and natural gas generators to deliver Resiliency-as-a-Service (RaaS), and this will connect to ViVaVerse's colocation data center operations during utility outages.

RPower will also deploy the microgrid across different ERCOT market programs, which will contribute to assist with essential capacity and ancillary services for the local grid. ERCOT has increased its use of renewable energy in recent years, but still has faced criticism for unstable conditions. The microgrids can potentially assist ERCOT, and also help cut back on emissions.

“RPower's pioneering microgrid will not only deliver essential N+1 resiliency to our data center operations but will also contribute to the local community by supplying necessary capacity during peak demand periods when the electric grid is strained,” Eduardo Morales, CEO of ViVaVerse Solutions and Morales Capital Group, says in a news release.

ViVaVerse Solutions will be converting the former Compaq Computer/HPE headquarters Campus into an innovative technology hub called the ViVa Center, which will host the High-Performance Computing Data Center, and spaces dedicated to mission critical infrastructure and technical facilities . The hub will host 200 data labs.

“We are thrilled to partner with ViVaVerse to deploy this `first of its kind' microgrid solution in the data center space,” Jeff Starcher, CEO of RPower, adds. “Our natural gas backup generation system delivers the same reliability and performance as traditional diesel systems, but with a 98 percent reduction in emissions. Further, the RPower system provides critical grid services and will respond to the volatility of renewable generation, further enabling the energy transition to a carbon free future.”