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ROUNDUP: Energy Vault targets SPAC listing, Swell Energy Hawaii VPP incentives, Canadian Solar battery deal

Energy Vault demonstrator project in Switzerland. Image: Energy Vault.

10 September 2021: Energy Vault valued at US$1.1 billion ahead of NYSE listing

Energy Vault has become the latest energy storage company to target a public listing of its shares, through a planned merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). 

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Founded in Switzerland, Energy Vault has developed a novel gravity and kinetic energy-based technology which uses 35 tonne blocks of a concrete-like composite material hoisted from cranes over 100 metres high to store and release energy. Having attracted interest and investment over the past three or four years as it seeks to commercialise the product, the company raised US$100 million through a Series C funding round that closed in August

The merger that it announced yesterday, with SPAC Novus Capital Corporation II, would value the business at US$1.1 billion and unlock up to US$388 million in gross cash proceeds. The SPAC has already got US$100 million of Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE) commitments from investors that include Softbank Investment Advisors, Cemex Ventures and Novus Capital affiliates and associates.

Energy Vault said it has executed agreements and letters of intent for 1.2GWh of energy storage with eight customers, off the back of a successful demonstrator project. Deployments will begin in the fourth quarter of this year in the US, with projects to follow in Europe, the Middle East and Australia next year, the company claimed. 

The combined entity will list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with the transaction expected to close in Q1 2022 subject to conditions. The merger follows those by the likes of long-duration zinc-air battery maker Eos Energy Storage which became Eos Energy Enterprises after its SPAC merger and smart battery storage provider Stem Inc. 

10 September 2021: Hawaii VPP participants eligible for up to US$11,500 over five years

Virtual power plant (VPP) specialist startup Swell Energy has revealed the incentives that will be paid to participants in its 80MW VPP programme in Hawaii. 

Swell Energy, which is connecting together home battery and solar systems to build multi-megawatt virtual power plants (VPPs) around the US, said it will enrol 6,000 customers on Hawaii’s O’ahu, Hawai’i Island and Maui regions into a Home Battery Rewards Program.

The programme is being run together with utility Hawaiian Electric, which awarded Swell the 80MW contract at the beginning of this year. A fixed monthly payment will be applied to customers’ monthly Hawaiian Electric electricity bills. 

Swell Energy said that a customer with a Tesla Powerwall could receive about US$1,500 over the five year life of the programme, while a customer with three could earn as much as US$11,700, with no limit on the number of battery storage devices that can be enrolled per customer. In return, the utility gets to use the systems for applications including storing excess renewable energy for later use, dispatch stored energy to the grid when it is most needed and providing frequency response services. 

Homeowners’ need for backup power would not be affected, Swell Energy said in a press release yesterday. In a two-part series of in-depth interviews with this site in April, Swell CEO Sulemain Khan explained the company’s strategy and business model.  

Earlier this summer, Hawaiian Electric also announced a ‘Battery Bonus’ incentive scheme: a one-time cash incentive paid to residential and commercial customers on the island of O‘ahu to add battery storage to an existing or new PV system. 

10 September 2021: Canadian Solar subsidiary providing BESS to 1.4GWh Crimson project

Canadian Solar said yesterday that its manufacturing subsidiary CSI Solar will provide the battery energy storage system (BESS) and carry out EPC services at the Crimson 350MW / 1,400MWh battery project in California.

The vertically-integrated solar PV company said that CSI Solar will supply a fully-integrated BESS and EPC services as well as long-term maintenance to the facility, which will be among the biggest BESS projects in the world. 

The announcement came just a few hours after reported that Canadian Solar’s US project development subsidiary, Recurrent Energy, had sold an 80% stake in the project to investment management group Axium Infrastructure. Recurrent Energy said yesterday that the project is expected to reach commercial operation start by summer 2022. 

CSI Solar will service the battery system for 15 years and it is anticipated that it will be augmented with around 300MWh of new batteries over that time. 

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