League City moved closer to allowing battery energy storage systems, or BESSs, to set up shop in town, but a few key approvals are still needed.

What you need to know

At a June 11 workshop, city staff presented a possible ordinance that would create a number of restrictions and requirements for any BESS companies interested in coming to League City.

The ordinance being proposed lists out a number of requirements tied to safety, aesthetics, decommissioning and location, according to city documents. Some of the key requirements include:
  • A minimum of 200 feet away from residentially zoned land, which could increase depending on plume, or fire safety, studies that are also required by each applicant
  • Receiving a special use permit to build-out, which gives the city the ability to approve and reject each individual application
  • Aesthetic requirements, such as perimeter walls and landscaping
  • A plume study to see how much space might be needed for each applicant
  • Noise studies in certain circumstances
  • Decommissioning requirements, such as bonds and returning land back to its predevelopment state
  • Insurance
  • Having a response plan and meeting certain monitoring practices
Some additional changes were discussed at the workshop. Officials confirmed changes can be made until final approvals.

How we got here

There are three BESS facilities being considered in League City. Two have gone through some level of city meetings, while the third has not yet appeared on any agendas.

The smallest of the bunch, Stella Energy Solutions, is pitching a 10-megawatt facility near FM 646 and Caroline Street. That facility went up for approval at City Council in April but was tabled until the city could pass an ordinance creating parameters for such sites.

A BESS is a series of batteries traditionally built near substations that stores energy and transfers it back to the grid when there is higher demand, according to city documents.

What they said

Both city officials and residents at the meeting spoke about how it felt inevitable that these types of facilities would come to the city. As a result, much of the comments focused on creating high safety standards, rules for aesthetics and restrictions on where they can be set up.

“The rationale behind building [these facilities] is sound,” resident Gray Meyer said at the workshop. “However, the rush to build ... is premature. Until all the city, county, state codes, regulations and fire departments have caught up with technology ... we should act with caution.”

Stay tuned

The ordinance will go to the city’s planning and zoning commission meeting on June 17. The board will make a recommendation to City Council, officials said at the workshop. Afterwards, it will go up for the first of two votes at City Council’s June 25 meeting.

If the ordinance receives the first approval, it will go to council’s July 9 meeting, where, if it receives a second OK, it will go into effect, city officials said.