BY RICHARD HEAP:
That’s the song John Lennon would have written if he was a better songwriter. But anyway, it’s time for us to look back at major deals and developments from 2020. It was a year of huge projects and growing interest from global investors that have traditionally focused on the solar and wind sectors.
Have a look and get in touch if you think we’ve missed any:
- Blackstone buys Canadian battery storage firm NRStor:
Private equity house Blackstone showed how global investors are seeking to position themselves in the storage sector in March when it bought Canadian battery developer NRStor C&I in March. This is just one example of why we expect storage firms remain attractive for buyouts by investors and utilities in 2021.
- Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners buys 1.6GW pumped pair:
Danish investor CIP entered the storage market this year, and our key deal was its acquisition of the 1.2GW Goldendale and 400MW Swan Lake projects from Rye Development and National Grid in November. This shows the appeal of major storage developments to financial giants in the renewables industry.
- Eni and Falck Renewables form 1GW renewables and storage tie-up:
Italian oil giant Eni and developer Falck Renewables officially set up a 50:50 joint venture to deliver 1GW of solar, onshore wind and energy storage in the US by the end of 2023. This shows that storage will play an important role as firms such as Eni get greener, and role of diversified development platforms.
- Green Investment Group forms UK solar-and-storage tie-up with Enso:
The storage market isn’t all about huge projects in Australia and the US. In June, Macquarie’s Green Investment Group tied up with Enso Energy to develop a 1GW pipeline of solar-and-storage projects in the UK. This is another high-profile investor looking to earn its spurs in storage.
- Huanghe commissions 2.2GW Chinese solar giant with storage:
Huanghe Hydropower Development, which is part of China’s state-owned State Power Investment Corporation, this year delivered the mammoth 2.2GW solar project in China with 202.86MW / 202.86MWh of battery storage. This is a powerful reminder that China is getting into storage in a big way too.
- LS Power turns on 250MWh Gateway Energy Storage in San Diego:
Signed, sealed and delivered. We can’t write a retrospective of 2020 and ignore LS Power turning on the world’s largest battery in California in August. This beats the previous record held by the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia, and kickstarts the race for ever-larger storage schemes.
- Neoen’s Australian arm wins 100MW PPA:
French developer Neoen won a 100MW off-take deal in September for the 100MW first phase of its planned A$3bn ($2.1bn) Goyder South hybrid in South Australia. This qualifies for our top ten on size alone: the development is set to be comprised of 1.2GW wind, 600MW solar and 900MW / 1.8GWh batteries. Massive if they can do it.
- NextEra unveils 700MW battery storage drive in California:
Storage was taking off in California even before 2020 wildfires, which gave the sector extra impetus. Among the most influential players are NextEra, which is looking to build 700MW of fully-contracted battery projects in the US state by the end of 2022. These are part of a $1bn storage drive by the huge US utility in 2021.
- Scatec Solar bought $1.2bn SN Power:
Norwegian developer Scatec Solar unveiled a major shift to its strategy in October as it announced it was buying hydro firm SN Power from the state-run Norfund for $1.2bn. This buyout is a clear indication of the attraction of hydro to wind and solar developers, as well as hinting at more diversification-focused takeovers in the years ahead.
- Terra-Gen and Mortenson committed to build Californian giant:
US developer Terra-Gen last week teamed up with Mortenson to build a 1.1GW solar and 2.2GWh storage project Edwards & Sanborn in California. Terra-Gen said it was the largest project of its kind to reach this milestone, and for us further underlines the fact that 2020 is the year storage projects went huge.
When we look back at 2020, we think we’ll see it as a turning point for both the scale of projects and investor interest. There’s still a huge way to go for this industry to reach its potential and we’ll be back with predictions for 2021 on 8th January. Until then…