Manager of green energy assets Gresham House and the state-owned UK Infrastructure Bank have confirmed their six-month old partnership to invest in collocated renewable and battery storage projects in Britain.
Gresham House Secure Income Renewable Energy & Storage LP (SIRES) has been jointly backed by a £65 million cornerstone investment by Centrica, and the UK Infrastructure Bank’s confirmation of its £75 million commitment on a match-funding basis. UKIB’s move comes as part of a budgeted total of £200 million in support of energy storage funds.
SIRES is focused on developing collocated renewable generation and short duration grid-scale batteries, aiming to secure quicker connections to the National Grid by sharing connection points.
Parallel development of both technologies on the same sites minimises, – or so the partners believe – wastage of precious clean power flows during periods of abundant supply. Instead clean power is tucked away into the clever boxes it owns, for use when demand outstrips supply.
For investors, collocation can earn larger, more diverse revenues compared with single-technology sites, tapping several streams of income, including power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable assets and optimisation contracts with trading entities for battery storage.
Proof of their concept is arriving, the investment partnership says, in the shape of its first wholly-owned project now under construction, a 50 MWp solar farm near Hartlepool, County Durham, collocated with 75 MWh of batteries. Gresham House is exploring a pipeline of other projects as homes for its new capital.
Gresham House’s record in storage-backed green generation includes 640MW of operational battery capacity managed by its listed Gresham House Energy Storage Fund (GRID). That portfolio is projected to double in the next two years, supported by well-advanced plans to enter America’s power market.
Peter Bolton, the finance house’s director for new energy investment, explained, “With 21 operational storage projects and over 13 years’ experience in renewable investing, we are excited to grow Gresham House Secure Income Renewable Energy & Storage LP“.
“Battery storage is the only commercially viable technology to store excess renewable power, and collocating generation and storage is essential to accelerate the UK’s decarbonisation.
“The cornerstone investment from Centrica and this confirmed commitment from the UK Infrastructure Bank is a clear endorsement of our team’s expertise in this space and we are already underway deploying capital.”
UK Infrastructure Bank boss John Flint urged: “Increasing electricity storage capacity will help secure energy supply. Britain is making progress, but we need much more investment to meet necessary targets, and the clock is ticking. The Bank’s commitment into this fund will help break down the barriers to greater, long-term investment.”
Centrica CEO Chris O’Shea, pictured, added: “We’re delighted to see UKIB formalise its role as a cornerstone investor alongside Centrica. Working together with Gresham House, we will create new well-paid jobs by investing hundreds of millions of pounds in renewable energy generation and storage assets, strengthening the UK’s energy security.”