Total launches France’s largest energy storage project as new global battery company emerges

French energy firm Total has confirmed it will be developing France's largest energy storage system, while UK-based redT energy has announced plans to merge with a US battery company to drive global demand for heavy-duty battery technology.

Total launches France’s largest energy storage project as new global battery company emerges

Dunkirk’s port district will be home to the 25MW project

Total has announced the launch of an energy storage project in Mardyck, at the Flandres Center, in Dunkirk’s port district. The 25MW project will be the largest lithium-ion energy storage system installed in the country.

“This project is part of Total’s strategy to develop the stationary energy storage solutions that are critical to the expansion of renewable energy, which is intermittent by nature. It will contribute toward the goal of increasing the share of renewables in France’s energy mix, while helping to stabilize the domestic power grid,” Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanné said.

“Total’s involvement in the electricity segment continues to expand. With more than 40% of the storage capacities allocated, Total was the leading winner of the first call for tenders organised by RTE (France’s Electricity Transmission Network). This success was made possible thanks to the competencies of Total Flex, renewable energy aggregation expert, and Saft, the European leader in batteries for energy storage”.

The project will come online in late 2020 at a cost of around €15m and will comprise of 11 2.3 MWh containers designed at Saft’s production site in Bordeaux.

Total is aiming to decarbonise its electricity portfolio and has pledged to ensure that low-carbon technology accounts for 15 to 20% of its sales mix by 2040. Total’s current gross low-carbon power generation capacity is close to 7GW, of which more than 3GW from renewable energy sources.

Invinity in-bound

In related news, UK-based redT energy, which has worked with the likes of Pivot Power on grid-connected battery hybrids in the UK, has announced its intention to merge with US-based Avalon Battery Corporation.

The merger, subject to shareholder approval, will lead to the creation of Invinity Energy Systems to scale the market for vanadium flow batteries. Vanadium flow batteries are a heavy-duty, stationary form of energy storage that is best used when coupled with industrial-scale solar generation projects. The market is expected to be worth £3.5bn by 2028, while the wider energy storage market is set to generate well over £55bn in new investment by that time.

While typical lithium-ion batteries have a lifespan of two to three years, or 300 to 500 charge cycles, vanadium batteries can last for 20 to 25 years.

Invinity will be active across the UK, European, North American, Asian, Australasian and sub-Saharan African markets.

If the merger is successful, Invinity will have a portfolio of more than 40 flow battery storage projects globally. A development pipeline will also see the company supply batteries for the £41m Energy Superhub Oxford, in the UK.

The Superhub will play host to the world’s first transmission-connected 50MW lithium-ion and redox-flow hybrid battery systems as well as a network of 320 ground-source heat pumps.

Invinity’s chief executive Larry Zulch said: “The merged company will be a world leader in flow batteries. This gives us the platform to compete head-to-head against incumbent lithium-ion giants, and in so doing prove that our robust, safe, non-degrading energy storage solutions are the best solution for delivering the world’s ambitious decarbonisation targets.”

Matt Mace

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