Swiss Life Asset Managers enters German utility-scale energy storage market with acquisition

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Swiss Life Asset Managers has acquired a 50% stake in BCP Battery Holding, a company with several utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) developments in Germany.

BCP Battery Holding is a newly-formed platform which, concurrent with Swiss Life’s investment, has acquired a portfolio of 220MW of BESS projects in Germany from developer Smart Power. Zurich-based asset manager B Capital Partners is an investor in both Smart Power and BCP, alongside Swiss Life.

Smart Power will continue to develop those projects, providing a turnkey solution and bringing the units’ energy to market once operational, the company said in a statement.

One of those projects is a 68MWh site in Eisenach, Thuringia, which Swiss Life said will be the largest industrial battery in the German battery storage market once completed. Eisenach was also the location for a 10MW system that recently came online.

BCP, through relationships with several BESS developers in the country, has exclusivity rights to further build up the portfolio to 420 MWh of capacity.

Swiss Life said that the main purpose of energy storage is to stabilise the transmission and distribution grids in light of volatility in electricity generation from solar and wind parks. is increasingly hearing that arbitrage opportunities in wholesale energy trading are the main market driver of utility-scale projects in Germany, alongside the state-led Innovation Tender which is opening up opportunities for co-location.

“We are very pleased to be entering this exciting sector and to support its growth. Demand for storage will increase to balance the higher proportion of variable, renewable generation in the electricity system. Batteries will increasingly be chosen to manage this dynamic supply and demand mix,” said Marc Schürch, head of renewable energy at Swiss Life Asset Managers.

“Through the cooperation with B Capital Partners, an asset manager specialising in sustainable infrastructure, and the co-investor Swiss Life Asset Managers, both based in Zurich, we are strengthening our market position as a full-service provider of MW battery storage systems in a dynamically growing Market,” said Thorsten Klöpper, managing director Smart Power.

Germany has around 600MW of operational utility-scale BESS at the time of writing according to developer ECO STOR, which recently interviewed. That is about the same size as the existing primary reserve/FCR market, meaning new large-scale projects have to primarily go for trading as a revenue source.

The entry into the market of Swiss Life, which has CHF276 billion (US$297 billion) in assets-under-management, follows the entry of UK-based energy storage-focused investor Gore Street Capital.

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