Corcel, AIM-listed since 2005, is an interesting example of a niche international mining company expanding beyond its core business into grid-scale power storage. For its first UK site the mineral extractor intends a strategy of “battery first, then solar generation”.
With a market capitalisation this morning approaching £7 million, Corcel was known until December as Regency Mines.
In recent years it targeted rare minerals critical to battery manufacture, including at grid scale. Nickel and cobalt from Papua New Guinea, and vanadium for Canada’s Yukon are the company’s key raw materials, dug from part-licenced sites.
Under its new management, Corcel intends going beyond other extractors. It is working to integrate vertically other firm’s storage products and sell grid balancing services, starting from the UK grid.
At Burwell near Cambridge, Corcel is negotiating with UK Power Networks to incorporate its first proposed 50 MW battery into a DNO grid. This morning CEO Scott Kaintz updated investors on the project.
As Corcel’s engineers refine designs ready for a planning application, Kaintz reports, UKPN has deferred until December an interim fee on the site’s desired grid connection. The firm also seeks the DNO’s permission to reduce the battery’s import-export capacity to 50 MW, thereby cutting upfront costs and grid reinforcement charges.
An expected ‘imminent’ sale will speed Corcel’s signature on a lease with of the site’s new owner, says Kaintz. A 50 MW solar farm is envisaged as Burwell’s second phase.
Burwell is Corcel’s first intended grid storage project. Each will be financed with its own special purpose vehicle. In December, Kaintz outlined the firm’s strategy as involving itself in UK energy projects at “attractive enough prices”, thereby generating low-risk cash flow to build a portfolio initially of up to 300MW.
Rivals Gresham House ESF manage 425 MW of storage. Gore Street last week raised new equity to build out its claimed 1.3 GW pipeline.
Kaintz draws investors’ attention today to another renewables infrastructure provider, Mast Energy Developments. Part-floated by Kibo, its Irish parent, in April, Mast raised its value 17% on its first day, increasing its market cap to around £23 million.
James Parsons, formerly CEO of Sound Energy and chair of Regency Mines, now chairs Corcel.
Corcel’s share price on AIM at 13:30hrs today had dropped 11.54%, to 1.73 pence.