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Asia-Pacific partnership on utility-scale storage for Fluence, Lyon Group and Japan’s JERA

Fluence, formed by AES with Siemens, will be supplying storage systems solutions and services. Pictured is Sunflex, the JV’s dedicated solar-plus-storage system. Image: Fluence.

A prolific trio of major companies in natural gas, energy storage and renewable energy project development have united to take on Asia’s energy storage market, with Japan’s JERA, Australia’s Lyon Group and US-headquartered multinational Fluence announcing a partnership this morning.

Fluence, the company established in January 2018 as a joint venture (JV) between energy storage systems integrator and equipment supplier AES Energy Storage and German engineering giant Siemens, emailed Energy-Storage.News this morning to reveal the news. Fluence announced its first Australia project in March, a 30MW/30MWh grid-connected battery at a terminal station in Warrenheip, Ballarat, Victoria.

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Fluence, JERA and Lyon Group will look at building new battery storage facilities as well as assessing existing thermal and renewable energy generation plants for their suitability for hybridisation or co-location with batteries. The partners will be focusing on utility-scale energy storage projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

Japanese utility companies seek to enhance portfolio

JERA was formed by two of Japan’s main utility companies, which are also grid operators, TEPCO and Chubu Electric Power Co. Owned 50-50 by the pair, it was created to make upstream investments in fuel, mainly liquefied natural gas (LNG), to build thermal generation power plants and latterly to develop power plant projects that include renewables.

“JERA believes that energy storage systems help to achieve a sustainable energy system and expand JERA’s renewable power business,” a statement from the company said.

“JERA and LYON have been jointly developing hybrid solar and energy storage projects in Australia together with Fluence as energy storage system provider. This MOU expands the collaboration among parties into the Asia-Pacific region.”

The Japanese utility company JV wants to enhance its portfolio of assets to include more renewable generation, but it will also explore the prospects for adding energy storage systems to thermal generation plants, as seen in the past week with Kokam’s latest completed project in Australia, pairing gas turbines with high power NMC batteries. JERA has around 66GW of generation assets in Japan and a further 8GW outside Japan.  

Lyon Group probably requires little introduction as a prolific developer of renewable energy and battery projects in Australia, backed by Japanese giant Mitsubishi and Blackstone via US hedge fund Magnetar Capital. For the forthcoming projects in the Asia-Pacific region, JERA will be investing, Lyon Group will be developer and Fluence will supply energy storage system solutions and services.

“This collaboration agreement is based on a shared understanding that the world requires low-emissions energy systems that are also secure, reliable and affordable. Utility-scale battery storage solutions across new and existing generation plants will be a key enabler,” Lyon Group chairman David Green said.

“Lyon’s tranche 1 projects will include four-hour Fluence battery storage systems and are scheduled to commence construction in the coming months.”

Work begins with three Australia projects

Fluence said the three partners’ work will begin with three major projects in Australia, all of which are using ‘long duration’ lithium batteries to allow solar generation to feed the local grid, houses and businesses into the evening and its peaks.

They are: Cape York in Queensland, where 55MW of solar PV is co-located with 20MW / 80MWh of battery storage; the Nowingi project in Victoria, with 253MW of PV plus 80MW / 320MWh of storage; and Riverland, South Australia, which is 253MW of PV with 100MW / 400MWh of energy storage.

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