EDF deepens energy storage drive

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EDF partners with renewable asset manager SWGT on energy storage optimisation in UK and invests in French cleantech startup PowerUp.

The partnership with SWGT, an independent battery storage asset manager in the UK, is aimed to optimise SWGT’s 30MW utility scale battery storage asset across a variety of grid flexibility schemes, as well as through EDF’s Powershift trading platform.

The agreement will also provide income stability through the delivery of a ‘floor price’, ensuring minimum income levels are guaranteed.

Revenue streams that are available include the wholesale market and grid services, such as dynamic containment.

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The partnership brings the total amount of assets under optimisation by EDF to 255MW.

SWGT is aiming to become one of the UK’s largest independent battery storage asset developers and operators, with a pipeline of more than 180MW. The project supports the growth of renewable energy sources by providing up to 65GWh of annual energy import and export capacity to the National Grid during its phase one development.

In addition, with its 25-container all-in-one Li-ion integrated battery storage solution, the project reduces energy transmission pressure and costs and provides significant contribution to the future flexibility and grid stability.

“This project is testimony to the resilience of the energy transition fuelled by innovation and a strong appetite for renewable energy from investors,” said Olivia He, chief investment officer at SWGT.

“By bringing together the leading edge expertise of our energy management partner, EDF, into a scalable, capital and risk efficient structure, we have created a launch pad for capital deployment into the decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitisation of the new energy market.”

PowerUp support

PowerUp, founded in 2017, is the creator of what is claimed as a breakthrough technology to optimise the performance and lifetime of lithium-ion batteries.

The latest round of funding of €5 million ($6.1 million) from EDF Group and other investors is intended to enable the company to continue its growth in France and then elsewhere in Europe and eventually into North America.

PowerUp diagnoses and measures the state of health of batteries. With dynamic charging based on the battery’s health, environment and use, the lifetime of batteries can be increased by up to 100%. Predictive maintenance and replacement also can be implemented based on usage scenarios.

The solution is currently aimed at manufacturers and operators who use batteries under power cycle conditions or for backup power applications. Following trials with groups including SNCF Réseau, EDF, Schneider Electric and Crédit Agricole Nord Midi-Pyrénées, the startup will commence production in 2021.

EDF’s funding in PowerUp is part of the group’s electricity storage plan, which targets installation of 10GW of new storage capacity by 2035.

The funding also marks the start of a partnership between EDF R&D and PowerUp aimed to accelerate the development of more effective algorithms for predicting and diagnosing battery health. EDF R&D will bring to the table its test facilities, as well as the full spectrum of its expertise, developed over more than 20 years, in the ageing of batteries in large stationary storage systems.

“In 2018, the EDF Group launched its Electricity Storage Plan, with the goal of establishing itself as the European leader in the sector by 2035. We are very glad to invest in PowerUp’s technology, which provides another building block in the drive to optimise storage systems and develop new use cases for large capacity projects,” said Michel Vanhaesbroucke, director of the corporate venture entity and startup incubator EDF Pulse Croissance.

PowerUp was a finalist in EDF’s Pulse Awards for start-ups in 2018.