Enchanted Rock (ERock) and affiliate Texas Microgrid will provide microgrid reliability service for a major Texas convenience store chain under a deal unveiled today.
The long-term contract calls for Buc-ee’s to use the microgrid reliability service at ten stores and travel centers.
ERock uses an unusual microgrid business model called On Demand Electric Reliability. The Texas-based company installs natural gas generators on customer sites that sell output to the wholesale market.
During an outage, the generators provide back-up power for the host customers. When grid conditions are normal, the customer receives no power from the generators. Instead, the customer continues to rely on its retail supplier for electricity. Meanwhile, ERock aggregates the unused generation into a virtual power plant to provide power and ancillary services to ERCOT.
The customer pays a small fee, which ERock says is a fraction of the microgrid installation costs. Under a long-term contract, ERock maintains the equipment.
The deal with Buc-ee’s provides enough power to cover all of the convenience store’s needs during a power outage.
“Their reliability microgrid solution will allow Buc-ee’s to ensure critical service is available to travelers and customers from surrounding communities during weather related emergencies like those commonly experienced in Texas,” said Jeff Nadalo, Buc-ee’s general counsel.
Buc-ee’s intends to eventually expand its microgrid reliability service to all of its locations, which include 120 fueling positions. The chain operates 32 sites throughout Texas. Some of its travel centers approach 70,000 square feet.
“We are very happy to join the Buc-ee’s family and help ensure that Buc-ee’s continues to provide the quality of service and products their customers have come to expect and support the surrounding communities they serve during power outages,” said Robert Cauthen, Enchanted Rock’s chief operating officer.
ERock’s portfolio includes over 67 MW of customer microgrids in the Greater Houston area and 160 MW of grid reliability distributed generation sites across Texas. Through Texas Microgrid, ERock plans to build and operate over 60 MW of natural gas generation across Texas. Texas Microgrid is a partnership between ERock and equity investment fund Basalt Infrastructure Partners.
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