A Europe-facing investment fund already a quarter of the way to its target of 1GW of grid-scale power storage made its market debut today.
London-based Renewable Power Capital (RPC) is entering the hospitality sector for coulombs and amps, in partnership with UK battery specialists Eelpower.
RPC’s parent is CPP Investments, whose origins lie in financing pensions for millions of Canada’s public sector workers. As 2021 drew to a close, CPP delivered a $300 million early Christmas present to Octopus, pushing the privately-held clean power firm’s worth to a notional $ 5 billion.
Drawing on five-year old Eelpower’s technical nous, RCP intends to participate in wholesale electricity trading, and provide ancillary services to National Grid-ESO. That’s the niche it sees for itself in Britain’s accelerating transition to low-carbon generation & dispersed, distributed grid operation.
Battery storage in the UK is supported by no government subsidy, a factor which underscores the partners’ approach to investing in projects as long-term owners. It is the first investment by RPC in the UK and follows its recent acquisition with Eelpower of a 528MW portfolio of onshore wind in Sweden.
Eelpower’s troth-plighting today to RPC is its third joint venture in big UK batteries. In January 2021 it sealed a deal with SUSI Partners. Eight months on, it broke bread with Next Energy Solar Fund. At the end of October, London-based Eelpower bought development rights for a 250MW storage portfolio in East Anglia.
Britain is Europe’s best developed market for humungous energy boxes allowing power to wriggle around grid chokepoints, limiting heavy upgrade costs. As 2022 dawned, UK installed capacity of batteries stood at 1.7GW. That’s predicted to grow to 10 GW this decade, made necessary by the grid’s deepening penetration by intermittent clean sources.
October saw new records as wind generated 50% of the UK’s power over a single day for the first time. Lithium-ion battery storage is the most flexible short duration storage technology currently available.
Eelpower CEO Mark Simon said: “Eelpower was founded to make the transition to renewable energy sustainable, through the creation of a platform of grid-scale electricity storage assets.
“We are delighted to be working with RPC as a partner and intend that our joint venture leads the battery storage market in terms of scale, quality of assets and speed of deployment.”
RPC’s CEO Bob Psaradellis echoed: “Battery storage will play a key role in decarbonising the grid and balancing intermittent renewable generation.
“The flexibility it provides will be central to building a twenty-first century grid. The GB market has real momentum behind it and presents one of the best opportunities in Europe. We are pleased to be working with Eelpower to enter this market.”