Shell is to buy virtual power plant firm Limejump. The move follows Shell’s recent acquisition of home battery storage firm Sonnen.
Shell, which sells energy directly to large industrial and commercial companies in the UK, also acquired household energy retailer First Utility a year ago.
The fossil fuel company could now arguably be called a virtually if not vertically integrated utility.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Upon completion Limejump will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell, but CEO Erik Nygard told The Energyst that the firm would retain autonomy.
“Everything stays the same in that sense. We will remain an independent subsidiary of Shell. The current management team stays in place and we can focus on ensuring the energy future we want to build comes together faster,” he said.
“It becomes a supercharged version of what we have always tried to do, with greater support and resources,” Nygard added. “We would otherwise have been looking at quite a different set of scale opportunities.”
Shell’s buy follows a round of consolidation in the UK demand-side response market. Kiwi Power’s founders sold out to Engie in late 2018, Centrica bought Restore for £62m the year before, with Enernoc bought and renamed by Enel in a deal that valued the firm at £236m.
Nygard suggested the global investments in renewables and smart grid companies Shell has made in recent years sets the acquisition apart.
“Suddenly it starts to look highly global; a big differential versus a lot of acquisitions we see in this space. Shell is letting [the acquired companies] operate in their own way without forced integration, but it sets up a very interesting strategy in the long term. Shell New Energies’ vision is fully aligned with ours.”
VP Energy Solutions at Shell New Energies, Brian Davis, said: “We are impressed by the Limejump team and their track record of building a digital energy platform that connects and optimises a diverse range of assets. Together, we can offer more choices to our customers in the UK as we accelerate the building of a customer-focused energy system in support of Shell’s strategy to offer more and cleaner energy solutions to customers.”