Equinor Invests in Battery Company to Explore Wind Farm Possibilities
Energy company Equinor, which is pursuing renewable energy including a growing portfolio of offshore wind farms, announced an investment and partnership with a U.K. battery storage developer. Together, the companies plan to explore the further development of utility-scale storage and stability services, including incorporating the battery system into Equinor’s offshore wind assets,
Under the terms of the strategic cooperation, Equinor will also acquire a 45 percent stake in UK-based Noriker Power Limited. Equinor also has the option to acquire the full company at a later stage and Equinor has the opportunity to directly participate in projects being matured by Noriker.
Equinor says that it sees a solid opportunity to create profitable businesses by deploying batteries and storage assets to satisfy the growing need to stabilize power markets. In addition, they will explore complementing existing renewables portfolio in the U.K. by deploying batteries in proximity to offshore wind assets to enhance returns. In addition to addressing persistent concerns about the power fluctuation coming from wind farms, Equinor said that this would provide the ability to store electricity when the prices are low and sell it to the grid at later stages when prices are higher, improving returns from its renewable projects.
“Battery storage is going to be a key part of the energy transition as the world increases its share of intermittent renewable power,” says Olav Kolbeinstveit, senior vice president for power and markets within Renewables at Equinor. “Large-scale batteries can be charged when there is good access to low-cost electricity and discharged when supply is limited. This will enable businesses to establish profitable services around the need to balance markets, stabilize the electricity grid and improve security of supply. The UK’s high degree of renewables make the country an interesting investment case for a battery storage business.”
Noriker Power, headquartered in Gloucester, was founded in 2015 and two years later launched its first 20 MW site comprising containerized batteries alongside engines. The company introduced follow-on sites also ranging between 20 and 50 MW and says the Noriker projects were the first, large-scale, fully commercial battery sites built in the U.K. Currently, the company has developed and constructed over 250 MW of battery storage across the United Kingdom and has a near-term pipeline of over 500 MW in battery storage, hybrid energy, and stability service projects.
Noriker will use the investment from Equinor to enhance its project development platform, including engineering development, control systems innovation, and algorithmic optimization. As part of the agreement, Equinor will buy the shares currently held by Gresham House Plc and Gresham House Energy Storage Fund, another investor which holds a 15 percent stake in Noriker.