Building Britain’s biggest battery, capable of storing a day’s supply of renewable electricity for 235,000 Midlands homes, is on the to-do-list for Octopus Energy’s new investment partnership announced today.

Greg Jackson’s fast-expanding group this morning launched its Energy Development Partnership, OEDP, primed with £ 186 million to invest.

Taking a 24% stake in non-fossil energy developer Exagen, the OEDP will seek storage and non-fossil generation opportunities across continental Europe and Britain.

Reducing Europe’s reliance on planet-cooking ‘natural’ gas is flagged as a key OEDP objective.

Four year old Exagen’s focus on large-scale solar and grid-scale storage puts it in alignment with the OEDP.

Under today’s deal, Octopus’ partnership fund takes ownership of Exagen’s three solar-with-storage ventures in the north-east and the Midlands, with a combined 400MW.

Among Exagen’s 2.4GW pipeline of projects is Britain’s biggest grid-scale battery currently under development, a 0.5GW/1GWh venture – pictured -, dubbed the Normanton Energy Reserve, set for Earl Shilton, near Blaby in Leicestershire.  A public consultation began last week. The battery is intended for commissioning by 2027.

Octopus’ energy generation arm is among Europe’s biggest backers of renewables, already managing £4.4 billion of arrays and turbines across the continent.  In the past twelve months, it has taken stakes in Irish floating wind developers Simply Blue, onshore firm Wind2 and solar developer Gridsource in the UK.

Zoisa North-Bond, Octopus’ generation overlady, opined: “This fund is helping to unlock huge amounts of new renewable energy across Europe, turbocharging the journey to greater energy security. The more new green power we can build, the faster we can reduce our dependence on gas imports and drive down energy bills for people in the UK and the rest of Europe.”

Alex Brierley, co-head of Octopus’s investment management team, predicted other big outlays will follow.  “Working with Exagen, there’s a massive opportunity to scale solar and battery storage projects – and these will play an absolutely integral role in the flexible renewable energy system of the future, ” he said.

Exagen’s CEO and founder Jeremy Littman was cock-a-hoop.

He said: “All of us at Exagen are thrilled by this ground-breaking deal with Octopus, which will support us in our mission to build smarter, flexible renewable generation projects across the grid, enabling communities access to cleaner, cheaper energy”.


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