National Geographic has an article on a large scale sodium sulphur battery being built in Texas - Texas Pioneers Energy Storage in Giant Battery.
Presidio, Texas, has one link to U.S. electrical power, stretching some 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Marfa in the high desert to the banks of the Rio Grande.
Built in 1948, the transmission line was around when Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean walked Marfa’s streets while filming the epic movie Giant.
Electrical storms erupt frequently in the rugged expanse between Marfa, nearly one mile (1,600 meters) above sea level, and Presidio, on the Mexico border, “one of the hottest places in the nation,” in the words of city administrator Brad Newton. “It really creates a situation unique to our geographic area,” he says.
Reliance on a single aging, transmission line in this hostile terrain has made life in Presidio different than in most of the United States.
Chronic power outages and electrical fluctuations have been the norm.
And sweltering in the dark has been only part of the problem. The situation wreaks havoc with electrical devices, causing computer systems to reset frequently—an annoyance in homes and a constant worry for authorities.
“The area is a significant border crossing and for them to lose computers was not a good option,” said Calvin Crowder, president of Electric Transmission Texas, LLC, a joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power and Warren Buffett’s electricity company, Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings.
ETT is just completing installation of a system designed to resolve Presidio’s power woes.
The hoped-for remedy is a battery, a Texas-size battery, which could eventually end up playing an important role in wider use of green power generation such as solar and wind. The U.S. $25 million system, which is now charging and is set to be dedicated April 8, will be the largest use of this energy storage technology in the United States.
The four-megawatt sodium-sulfur (NaS) battery system consists of 80 modules, 8,000 pounds (3,600 kilograms) each, constructed by the Japanese firm NGK-Locke. They were shipped to Long Beach, California, in December and transported to Texas aboard 24 trucks.
The cost of the battery system includes $10 million just to construct the building in which it will be housed and the new substation it requires.