Key Capture Energy co-founder Jeff Bishop is set to stand down from his role as CEO once a successor has been selected.
The battery storage project developer was launched in 2016 by Bishop and chief operations officer Dan Fitzgerald and has since built a portfolio of standalone grid-scale projects in US territories with a focus on New York, New England and more recently Texas.
Enjoy 12 months of exclusive analysis
- Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
- In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
- Annual digital subscription to the PV Tech Power journal
- Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual
Or continue reading this article for free
Describing itself as an energy storage independent power producer (IPP), the company’s strategy has largely focused on finding regions with constrained grids ripe for the value proposition of battery energy storage system (BESS) assets.
Key Capture Energy (KCE) then owns and operates its projects, logging a handful of industry milestones such as bringing online the first grid-scale BESS in New York State. Now with a couple of hundred megawatts under construction, mostly in Texas’ ERCOT market and in New York’s NYISO service area, KCE also claims a development pipeline of more than 5,000MW it is pursuing in various US regions.
KCE was acquired by South Korea’s SK E&S, an energy-focused affiliate of the major conglomerate SK Group, in a deal which closed in late 2021. While financial terms were not disclosed, SK E&S, which prior to that had mostly been involved in the residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) sectors of the battery space, said prior to the takeover that it planned to invest more than a billion dollars into the developer-IPP.
“Dan Fitzgerald and I started with just a PowerPoint and an idea to build and operate utility-scale battery storage projects seven years ago, I’m very proud of what the Key Capture Energy team has accomplished, and I am excited about KCE’s future,” Jeff Bishop said yesterday.
“We have built a market-leading team and using our unique approach of starting with small projects, learning by doing, and applying those lessons learned, KCE is expanding and growing into markets across the country to continue leading the transition to the electric grid of the future.”
Jeff Bishop has also been a regular and much-valued contributor of comments, industry insight and anecdotes for Energy-Storage.news over the past few years.
SK E&S now begins the search for the CEO’s successor.
100MW ERCOT project completions
KCE also announced yesterday the completion of two of its projects in Texas, which brings the company’s operational portfolio in the state to 380MW.
As mentioned above in Jeff Bishop’s quote, the developer enters new markets with the buildout of smaller projects typically in the 5MW to 10MW range, executing, operating and learning from those before starting on progressively larger assets once the value proposition and technological design is proven.
In Texas’ ERCOT market, which has become one of the US’ two standout leaders for grid-scale storage – along with California – KCE started out with three projects of equal 9.9MW output, which went online in 2020.
It has since graduated to constructing projects in the range of 50MW to 100MW in ERCOT, while projects listed under its development pipeline highlights on the company’s website in Texas are all of 100MW.
Two of the company’s 50MW projects have recently gone into commercial operation, as announced by KCE yesterday, with Jeff Bishop commenting that they have gone into service in time for the expected August heat wave.
Heat waves create the need for both capacity and flexibility resources on the electric grid, as solar production ramps in the daytime, but extra load is added to the grid, largely from air conditioning units being cranked up.
The two projects, named TX 19 and TX 21, are in Texas’ Williams County near Austin. Bishop added that Key Capture Energy’s machine learning-driven automation and optimisation technologies would provide “provide peak battery storage performance and best possible value for ERCOT customers”.
In an interview with this site at the beginning of 2022, the CEO was vocal about the growing importance of the software side of the energy storage business. At that time, Bishop said Key Capture Energy had built up its market operations team and developed algorithms that updated KCE’s bids in the ERCOT wholesale market at five minute intervals.
“The software side is really exciting and will continue to be the major trend to watch in the years to come,” Bishop had said.
“From machine learning to artificial intelligence (AI), we have been part of the software growth for market optimisation; already we find our algorithms bidding into the wholesale market that are not overly intuitive, but when we start to dig into the rationale it is really the most optimal outcome for the electric grid and for our projects.”