Apex partners with Korean energy giants to advance Texas battery storage projects

Apex partners with Korean energy giants to advance Texas battery storage projects
Powin and Apex's Angelo Storage and Great Kiskadee projects will be located in Tom Green County and in Hidalgo County, respectively. (Photo: Business Wire)

Apex Clean Energy announced a joint venture with SK Gas, a Korean energy company, and SK D&D, a Korean green energy developer, to own energy storage facilities in the United States.

The joint venture, SA Grid Solutions, owns Great Kiskadee, a utility-scale battery project under construction in Texas, and says it anticipates purchasing and advancing additional Apex storage projects in the future.

Great Kiskadee Storage, located in Hidalgo, Texas, will deliver 100 MW/200 MWh of capacity to the ERCOT grid with a two-hour battery duration, and the next project slated for purchase by the JV is of similar size and duration. Great Kiskadee is expected to begin commercial operations in 2024 and will generate approximately 50 jobs during construction and more than $12.6 million in tax revenue over its lifetime.

“Great Kiskadee represents the first project in this shared vision, with the potential for hundreds more megawatts of energy storage to come,” said Ken Young, Apex Clean Energy CEO. “Our collaboration with SK Gas and SK D&D, a first-time partner with shared values, will enable Apex to swiftly accelerate the deployment of our development-stage storage portfolio, comprising more than 13 GW across the United States.”

The joint venture is funded 60% by SK and 40% by Apex, which will manage the construction and subsequent operations and optimization of the facility and any to come.

“Based on SK D&D’s capabilities, we are looking forward to entering the rapidly growing U.S. market with SK Gas and Apex,” said Do Hyun Kim, CEO of SK D&D. “We will continue to create new opportunities such as ESS-based power transactions in the U.S. market and contribute to preoccupying the domestic ESS market, strengthening the competitiveness of the power brokerage business.”

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In 2022, Apex became an independent power producer after an infusion of equity growth capital from the 2021 majority stake acquisition of Apex by Ares Management Corporation’s Infrastructure and Power strategy.

Texas is the second-largest battery storage market in the U.S., behind California, with around 3.2 GW installed as of 2024, according to the Energy Information Administration. Battery developers, backed by billions in private equity, have flocked to ERCOT, in part due to favorable permitting and interconnection rules that have made Texas a hotbed for clean energy growth.

But the market opportunity for battery storage is somewhat limited. The majority of battery systems in Texas range from 1-2 hours in energy capacity, and asset owners are battling over a finite amount of capacity set aside to support daily grid management needs, often referred to as ancillary services.

The battery storage analysts at Modo Energy report that around 70% of operational storage capacity in ERCOT was reserved for ancillary services in 2023. Early this year, the analysts said they expect the capacity of batteries reserved for ancillary services to exceed the capacity of capacity awarded to storage.