Battery investment fund NextEnergy Solar (NESF) is set to pay £32.5 million for development rights on an unbuilt portfolio of two-hour grid-scale storage, set for construction in East Anglia.
Project Lion is a 250MW/500 MWh blueprint of permits and grid connections scheduled for energising in 2025, and anticipated to run until at least 2075.
Revenues from grid balancing and from arbitraging wind-generated power underpin Project Lion’s business model.
“Once energised, Project Lion will significantly contribute to increasing the UK’s energy independence and will help accelerate the increased penetration of renewable energy”, NextEnergy Solar told investors this morning.
The fund already operates 865 MWp of generation assets in the UK, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
September’s revelations of the fund’s first two joint ventures with Eelpower detailed a 500 MW pipeline of storage projects, deemed ‘high quality’ by the parties.
With £300 million budgeted for the expansion, it will add to a 50MW battery being built in Fife, a 6MW project co-located at the iconic North Norfolk Solar Farm – adjacent site pictured – , plus a second joint-venture vehicle, to be owned 75% by the fund.
Partridge, in a North Norfolk Lion-related project
NextEnergy Solar currently sets a policy of battery assets composing no more than 10% of its gross assets, which primarily focus on clean generation. Project Lion breaches that threshold. The fund’s management company NextEnergy Capital will secure shareholders’ say-so, as well as rubber-stamping by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The fund’s chairman Kevin Lyon, commented on the short timeframe within which it had acquired battery assets:
“This acquisition of development rights adds significantly to NESF’s participation in the UK battery storage investment space. The project will take our battery storage programme up to a capacity of 300MW, showing how NESF has been able to secure a significant development pipeline of storage projects”.
Kevin Lyon, Chairman of NextEnergy Solar Fund commented: “This acquisition of development rights adds significantly to NESF’s participation in the UK battery storage investment space.
“The project will take our battery storage programme up to a capacity of 300MW, showing how NESF has been able to secure a significant development pipeline of storage projects in a short timeframe. NESF offers investors a unique investment opportunity, making a real difference in the transition to net zero.”
From the fund’s parent NextEnergy Group, CEO Michael Bonte-Friedheim highlighted Project’s Lion’s “enormous growth potential, with synergies to NESF’s current solar portfolio”.
“We look forward to constructing this project by 2025 and to operating it for decades into the future”, said Bonte-Friedheim.