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Spearmint Energy Sees Big Opportunities In Battery Storage

Photo Courtesy Spearmint Energy

It’s no secret that renewable energy sources such as solar and wind have one main weakness — they rely on the weather. Solar energy needs ample sunlight to produce power, and wind energy needs ample wind. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, grids dependent on renewable energy experience fluctuations in delivery that lead to power and price volatility.

One solution is battery storage, which can provide power regardless of the weather. In the past, the main issue with this approach was that it was not cost-efficient on a mass scale. But that problem is easing thanks to “evolving policy changes” and a willingness on the part of investors to embrace battery energy storage systems (BESS), according to Andrew Waranch, founder, president, and CEO of Spearmint Energy, a Crane, Texas-based renewable energy company.

Photo Courtesy Spearmint Energy 

The Spearmint platform is made up of three distinct focus areas: battery and solar project development, energy storage offtake, and renewable power trading.

According to the company’s website, it aims to be the “preeminent green merchant energy company” when it comes to developing, owning, operating, and trading around battery energy storage, solar, and wind. Its goals include reducing grid volatility, increasing system resiliency, and helping to reduce carbon emissions in a “responsible and efficient way.”

“The power grid was not designed to handle the large day-to-day, or even second-to-second, swings in intermittent generation,” Waranch wrote in a 2022 column for Energy Storage News. “As a result, batteries will be required to smooth out the energy flow and ensure a safe and robust grid.” 

Most energy storage systems currently in operation use lithium batteries. As Waranch noted, lithium batteries have been in use since the late 1980s, with varying degrees of success.

“Prior to 2019, the price of lithium-based storage was too high to be economical, and regional and Independent System Operator (ISO) policies did not offer the right mix of revenue streams to incentivize large projects,” Waranch wrote. “Banks were hesitant to support construction without utility offtake, and the traditional RFP [request for proposal] process was and continues to be painfully slow, politically charged, and very costly for those that don’t receive an award.”

According to Waranch, thanks to programs such as the Massachusetts Clean Peak Energy Standard — which is designed to provide incentives to clean energy technologies — batteries are now “financially viable in several regions of the U.S.”

“We expect that within five years, most of the country will be in the same place,” he wrote in 2022. “Standalone storage and batteries added to new or refreshed wind and solar projects will all be pieces of the puzzle.”

Photo Courtesy Pixabay

Spearmint Energy aims to become a piece of that puzzle by accelerating the delivery of “stable and inexpensive” renewable energy to the power grid.

The company took another important step forward in January when it announced the successful completion of Revolution, its 150-megawatt (MW), 300-megawatt hour (MWh) battery energy storage system (BESS) project in West Texas.

According to a press release, revolution ranks among the largest BESS projects in the U.S. The project is designed “to support a low-cost, clean, and resilient grid for homes and businesses” throughout the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) service area.

Video Courtesy ERCOT

“The project’s completion marks a major milestone for Spearmint as we cement our position as a leader in Texas’ fast-growing battery storage market,” Waranch said in a statement. “[We] look forward to supporting Texas’ growing demand for electricity — particularly in the face of climate change and rising natural gas and oil prices — for years to come.” 

Spearmint broke ground on Revolution in partnership with Mortenson, a construction and real estate development firm. The project reached mechanical completion following the delivery and installation of Sungrow’s PowerTitan Series battery energy storage system.

Photo Courtesy Mortenson 

Revolution was partly funded by a $92 million tax equity investment provided in October 2023 by Greenprint Capital Management. According to Spearmint, that investment marked one of the first applications of the Investment Tax Credit structure for a standalone battery energy storage system following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. 


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