Enchanted Rock, a Texas-based company, will set up a 2.4 MW microgrid for the North Fort Bend Water Authority to ensure water deliveries during power outages.
Earlier this summer, the board for the regional water authority, approved a $1.2 million contract with Enchanted Rock under which the company will replace existing backup generators serving a key pumping station with a natural gas-based microgrid.
Located near Houston, the facility uses its Bellaire pump station to deliver surface water to 69 utility districts and two cities in its service territory.
The pumping station will continue to have a reliable source of backup power, without ongoing maintenance expenses, because Enchanted Rock will own, operate, and maintain the new generators, according to the water authority. The project is expected to be operating early next year.
Enchanted Rock leverages its microgrids in the wholesale power capacity markets run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. In doing so, Enchanted Rock accrues financial benefits that reduce upfront microgrid costs for its customers.
The company provides microgrid services to other governmental entities, including the Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 2 and Gulf Coast Water Authority.
The NFBWA selected Enchanted Rock because of its track record maintaining energy resilience during utility outages caused by hurricanes. The company made a name for itself during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. More than a quarter of a million homes lost power. But 21 grocery stores and gas stations remained operational because of Enchanted Rock microgrids. They were able to provide food, fuel and water to their customers. A National Guard unit, a search-and-rescue team and several state agencies were able to operate out of one store. More recently, Enchanted Rock microgrids again came into play when Hurricane Hanna knocked out power to some customers for more than two days.
The North Fort Bend resiliency project will be the latest addition to Texas Microgrid, a joint venture between Basalt Infrastructure Partners, a private equity company, and Enchanted Rock Holdings. Texas Microgrid has a 220 MW portfolio.
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