CPS Energy has taken the first step towards bringing those volumes – plus 500 MW of firming capacity – to the Lone Star State in pursuit of the power company’s 50%-renewables-by-2040 goal.
Almost 1 GW of solar could be coming to San Antonio as municipal utility CPS Energy has published a request for information to inform a planned request for proposal (RFP) the company says will bring an “historic” amount of renewable energy to its generation portfolio.
The early-stage documents and corresponding procurement figures are part of CPS’ ‘Flexible Path’ vision, which includes achieving 50% generation from renewables by 2040. The request for information has been dubbed the, grammatically challenging ‘FlexPOWER Bundle.’
CPS said the resulting RFP will seek to add up to 900 MW of solar generation capacity, 50 MW of battery storage and 500 MW of “new technology solutions.” Those resources are being brought on-line not only in pursuit of the 50% goal, but to supplement 1.7 GW of aging generation capacity.
The standout figure is the 900 MW of solar capacity – a considerable level of procurement for a single utility in just one RFP. As interesting, however, is the disparity between the planned solar capacity additions and storage volume. Gunning for just 50 MW of storage capacity would add up to a curious 18:1 ratio of solar generation and energy storage.
The 500 MW of new technology solutions referenced by CPS will be reserved for firming capacity, which could mean anything from additional battery storage to new peaking gas plants or pumped hydro storage. Considering CPS’ location in Texas, though, that last option appears exceedingly unlikely.
The planned RFI marks another massive solar expansion in Texas, a state undergoing a rapid boom in renewables development. The Lone Star State is home to roughly 4.6 GW of installed capacity, the fifth largest state figure in the nation. That number is expected to rise dramatically over the next five years too, with trade body the Solar Energy Industries Association predicting Texas will add 14,466 MW over that time, good for second in the U.S. With singular RFPs like this one representing 20% of installed capacity in one of the stronger solar markets in the country, that 14 GW benchmark is beginning to appear realistic, rather than simply ambitious.