Anesco targets German utility-scale storage market; first projects within 1-2 years

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UK-based renewable energy developer Anesco will use its acquisition of a German wind and solar developer to expand into the country’s utility-scale energy storage market, CEO Mark Futyan told Energy-storage.news.

Anesco has acquired Aeos Energy for an undisclosed sum and launched its Anesco Germany subsidiary, nearly a year after being acquired by Ara Partners and Askiom and a month after it set up its first office abroad in the Netherlands, as covered by our sister site Solar Power Portal.

CEO Futyan told Energy-storage.news: “Our new owners are keen for us to take a real step change in growth, so not only pursuing our existing substantial pipeline in the UK but also having a foothold across Europe too. We want to be a three-technology-company of solar, storage and wind, and to do that in multiple countries.”

Aeos has a portfolio of 55 sites under operational management and a pipeline of development opportunities ahead. Futyan said it will use the firm, which does not list any storage assets in its portfolio, as a platform to expand into the utility-scale energy storage market in Germany rather than through another acquisition.

The company will also focus on the utility-scale segment rather than move into commercial & industrial or residential, the dominant sectors in German energy storage, although this requires starting off small as he explained.

“Our core competency is around grid-scale and that’s what we want to do in our new markets. The grid-scale market in Germany has been fairly quiet for a number of years, be it solar or wind or storage, due to a mix of planning rules and the way auctions work. That has to change partly because of the need for energy independence but also the scale of change needed to decarbonise is too great for small-scale installations alone,” Futyan said.

“We believe that opportunity is coming and we want to get ourselves established here and bring our track record of successfully delivering large grid-scale projects. For now, that will be more solar and wind with storage coming a step later, as it will be needed when you have more intermittency on the grid.”

“I don’t think we’ll be building 50MW standalone projects in Germany any time soon. I think we will be be looking at a 20MW solar project sand adding one to two MW storage onto them, for example. This is this is the trajectory that I would anticipate, and I would have thought that will be happening within one to two years.”

Colocated storage projects will particularly help with managing wind farm curtailment in northern Germany, where some sites are curtailed up to 30% of the time, he said. This could then be combined with energy trading, frequency regulation and grid balancing.

He also said that Anesco’s operational model may have to be tweaked slightly from its approach in the UK. There, it develops large projects to the point of being ready for construction, at which point it sells the project to investors and wraps a suite of services around the deal like construction, operational and trading services. But in Germany the company is to some extent starting over without a mature development pipeline, he said.

“So in order to not wait the 2-5 years for that to reach maturity we may partner or buy into pipelines to accelerate that process to repeat our UK model in slightly less time. We’re not going to completely replicate the exact same structure in each market. We’ll centralise some things in the UK and rely on local market expertise for others.”

When asked what other international markets it was eyeing up, Futyan said that it was generally focused around North Europe in regions where there was still plenty of potential for new projects. The company’s supply chain and design technology works best in wetter, lower solar intensity regions, he said.

Prior to the acquisition, Anesco had 11 grid-scale solar PV and energy storage projects under design and construction totalling 360MW of power. It has built more than 100 solar farms and 30 energy storage facilities in the UK and Netherlands.

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