WattBridge Energy commissioned the 288MW Braes Bayou power project in July 2022. (Credit: WattBridge Energy/ PRNewswire)
The energy generated by the Braes Bayou station will be delivered to the ERCOT-operated Texas state grid. (Credit: Dpysh w/ commons.wikimedia.org)
The Braes Bayou power project is supplied with natural gas by the Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline. (Credit: Arul from Pixabay)

Braes Bayou is a 288MW natural gas-fired power station located in Fort Bend County, Texas, the US. It is owned by independent power producer WattBridge Energy.

Fort Bend County officials approved an incentive package for WattBridge Energy to support the construction of the gas-fired power plant in 2020. The project was financed by MUFG Union Bank and CoBank ACB.

Braes Bayou began commercial operations in July 2022 and will supply electricity to the Texas grid during peak demand times.

It is WattBridge Energy’s third peaking-power installation in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region to achieve operational status in just 30 months.

The commissioning of the project is also expected to accelerate the growth of renewable wind and solar generation in the electricity market.

Location and power plant details

Braes Bayou natural gas-fired power station is built in Fort Bend County in Thompsons at the intersection of Lockwood Road and Smithers Lake Road.

It is equipped with six LM6000 gas-turbine packages to help in maintaining power supplies during grid intermittency.

The natural gas-fired power generation facility will be particularly used to supply power during peak-demand times, including severe heat waves and winter weather.

Particularly, it will provide fast-start, reduced-emissions power to baseload renewable installations.

The delivery of the power plant will bolster renewable energy capacity amid growing residential and commercial populations in the region.

The ProEnergy-delivered LM6000 gas turbines are tested in the company’s facility in Sedalia, Missouri, the US, before they are delivered to the customers.

The facility is equipped to test both 50 and 60Hz turbines.

The LM6000 gas turbine delivers more than 99% start and operational reliability, and 98% availability. The turbine has a smaller footprint and enables faster installation and commissioning.

LM6000 is developed for high cycling capability with a five-minute fast start, a feature that will expedite the operator’s dispatch capability.

The commissioning of the power plant increased WattBridge’s total capacity in the ERCOT zone to 1.8GW including operational and under construction projects.

The independent power producer has an additional 2.1GW of capacity in advanced development phases.

Power evacuation

The energy generated by the Braes Bayou natural gas power station will be delivered to the ERCOT-operated Texas state grid. It can generate enough electricity to power up to 200,000 homes.

ERCOT manages the supply of electricity to more than 26 million Texas customers. WattBridge is assisting ERCOT with its transition from legacy power generation to renewable energy.

Contractors involved in Braes Bayou natural gas power station

WattBridge contracted ProEnergy for a turnkey power plant solution for the Braes Bayou project including the delivery of six LM6000 gas-turbine packages in 2020. The company’s scope of work included engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), asset management, and operation and maintenance (O&M) services.

Tenaska Power Services is the Braes Bayou’s energy manager, while CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric is serving as the transmission service provider.

Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline

The Braes Bayou power project is supplied with natural gas by the Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline. A subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline is a 3,700-mile full-service intrastate pipeline system.

It is located primarily along the Texas Gulf Coast and is primarily used to transport and sell natural gas in the Texas Intrastate market.

The parent firm Kinder Morgan is one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America. It owns a stake or operates around 83,000 miles of pipelines, 141 terminals, and 700 billion cubic feet of working natural gas storage capacity.