Shell to buy virtual power plant firm Limejump

Limejump currently owns and operates technology it has described as “the UK’s largest virtual power plant”, which combines industrial and domestic-scale batteries with demand response (DR) to offer grid flexibility and stability as more renewables come online.

The technology allows small-scale renewable generators, battery storage operators and DR providers direct access to the Balancing Mechanism (BM) Market, bringing more clean power onto the grid.

The BM Market has been dominated by large-scale coal-fired, gas-fired and nuclear power plants, with industrial-scale renewable facilities making up a smaller proportion of its capacity. But last year, Limejump became the first aggregated unit to be granted approval from regulator Ofgem to compete alongside these large energy producers in the National Grid’s BM Market.

Shell’s purchase, which is set to be completed this spring, will see Limejump become a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil and gas firm.

“We are impressed by the Limejump team and their track record of building a digital energy platform that connects and optimises a diverse range of assets,” Shell New Energies’ vice president for energy solutions Brian Davis said.

“Together, we can offer more choices to our customers in the UK as we accelerate the building of a customer-focused energy system in support of Shell’s strategy to offer more and cleaner energy solutions to customers.”

Limejump’s chief executive and founder Erik Nygard added that the acquisition would help his company to bring about its vision of a zero-carbon future for the UK energy sector.

“We are in the middle of an energy revolution and joining forces with Shell allows Limejump to make a much greater impact on the market,” he said.

“We will remain independent and we will continue to focus on our three main objectives: paving the way to a more sustainable energy future, maximising revenue streams for all decentralised asset owners and utilising data science and technology to enhance the interplay between renewable supply, demand flexibility and energy storage.”

Low-carbon future

The announcement from Shell comes shortly after the firm revealed that it was exploring the feasibility of doubling its annual green energy investments to $4bn (£3.2bn), as it begins to transition away from fossil fuels and move into the low-carbon and renewables sectors.

The Dutch firm committed in 2018 to spend $1bn-$2bn annually on clean energy projects and research by 2020 – up 100% from 2017’s spend. Since then, it has invested in a number of low-carbon projects, including hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, electric vehicle (EV) charge points and a battery storage array in Norfolk.

Shell has also invested heavily in solar firms and, more recently, confirmed its acquisition of energy storage and ‘smart’ energy technology start-up Sonnen.

Looking to the future, Shell has hinted that it may begin paying executives in line with annual progress towards its decarbonisation goals. It is striving to reduce the carbon footprint of its energy products by 20% by 2035, rising to 50% by 2050

Sarah George

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