Controversial battery storage facilities coming to tiny town of Thompsons

Pooja Lodhia Image
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Controversial battery storage facilities coming to Thompsons
Fort Bend County commissioners approved building a new lithium battery storage plant in Thompsons, south of the Brazos River.

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Controversial battery storage plants are popping up everywhere, and Fort Bend County commissioners just approved building a new one in Needville.

Another plant is being considered in League City, and two are coming to Thompsons this year.

Thompsons is a tiny town in Fort Bend County, south of the Brazos River.

Its volunteer fire department is even tinier than you probably imagine.

"We have several kids that were volunteer fire members, and they are going to college or have moved away," Alderman Edward Taylor explained. "We have a small group. I think it's about ten."

It will be the closest fire department to the new battery facilities, near the Lockwood Bypass in a mostly industrial part of town.

The new plants store wind and solar energy inside lithium batteries, then release it as electricity into power grids when needed.

They're far more efficient than traditional batteries and great for powering up communities. However, the concern is that these batteries explode into flames and expel toxic gases when they fail.

Town leaders said they had no choice but to allow the new facilities.

"We, being as small as we are and understaffed, had not covered our bases," Taylor said. "We did not have ordinances in place to control such a growth."

For more on this story, follow Pooja Lodhia on Facebook,X and Instagram.