Quinbrook’s GlidePath to add batteries to Texas wind farms

The energy storage developer is building out battery systems in a part of the US with historically consistent wind resources.

An energy storage developer owned by clean energy fund manager Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners has acquired a portfolio of wind farms in North Texas and plans to connect them to battery systems.

GlidePath Power Solutions said in a statement that it had purchased eight distributed wind farms around Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle from Exelon Generation. They generate 149MW and feed into the Southwest Power Pool market.

The deal’s financial details were not disclosed, but GlidePath said it was considering developing onsite battery systems at the projects.

According to the statement, the company is working on the development of more than 1GW of battery storage projects, in addition to managing a 445MW operating solar, wind and storage portfolio. In June, GlidePath began construction on a 10 megawatt-hour battery storage facility 50 miles south of Houston.

Deanne Barrow, a project finance associate at the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, told Infrastructure Investor that battery projects paired with wind turbines have been a less common development than with solar panels.

“Due to the variability of wind, there’s no guarantee that the wind will blow every day and charge your batteries,” Barrow said. “If batteries don’t charge, you’re left with unused capacity.”

David Scaysbrook, aco-founder of Quinbrook, agreed, adding that to combine wind turbines with battery systems is “quite project-specific” but said that the projects’ location in North Texas made the deal a “compelling investment.”

“We see this market as an area where the combination of wind and batteries makes sense,” he told Infrastructure Investor. “We increasingly think we will see such batteries used to create a more consistent supply of power, and I think we’re trying to get ahead of the curve in understanding this sort of ancillary services market in Texas.”

Quinbrook, which Scaysbrook co-founded with Rory Quinlan, acquired GlidePath in 2017, after the two left Switzerland-based Capital Dynamics in 2015. In March, the firm closed its inaugural Low Carbon Power Fund on more than $1.6 billion.

Quinbrook has previously said that the fund will target investments in utility-scale onshore wind and solar PV, battery storage, gas peaking and reserve capacity as well as smart grids and embedded networks.