There are 2.5 million inactive oil wells in the United States, and that number continues to grow. Texas-based startup, Renewell Energy, is out to convert 700,000 of these abandoned wells into giant mechanical batteries, enough to power the entire U.S. grid.
And they’re doing it with what they sum up as a “fancy regenerative wench,” weighing in at 10,000 pounds, fondly referred to as Artemis Prime. Renewell’s energy storage solution is highly valuable to wind and solar industries whose power is intermittent and based on the weather.
Using abandoned oil wells, Artemis Prime stores power that can be deployed flexibly and stored indefinitely, unlike lithium ion batteries, which begin to degrade as soon as they are charged. This creates a win-win for both oil & gas, and renewables, and while that may be an unusual situation, it’s not surprising that a big solution like this is coming straight out of Texas, the energy capital of the world.
“We give regulators what they want, we give the state and federal governments what they want. And we give oil and gas companies what they want, and renewable developers what they want,” explains Kemp Gregory, Renewell co-founder and CEO. Renewell co-founder and CTO, Stefan Streckfus, adds, “There’s a lot of value in bringing something out that isn’t trying to penalize somebody for playing a role in what has happened in the past but is instead just trying to help everyone that’s involved.”