Statoil invests in US energy storage developer

UNITED STATES: Convergent Energy and Power, a US-based energy storage asset developer, has received a strategic investment from Statoil Energy Ventures, a corporate fund set up by Norwegian energy firm Statoil.

Statoil has invested in storage provider Convergent Energy and Power through its financial ventures arm

Statoil has joined a group of five other strategic investors committed to supporting Convergent in developing, financing and operating cost-effective energy storage assets.

Convergent will use the investments to expand its commercial and industrial energy storage business.

"Though that market is relatively new and many commercial and industrial users are just learning about storage and its benefits, the value proposition for customers can be quite good," said Convergent CEO Johannes Rittershausen.

Convergent's contracted energy storage projects amount to 70MW and are collectively worth about $200 million. According to Rittershausen, there is much more in the pipeline with all projects based in North America.

Convergent classes itself as a technology-neutral project developer. It does not integrate or manufacture energy storage systems.

"We use large balance sheet system integrators to facilitate the successful project financing and ongoing operations of our projects.

"We believe it is not best practice, especially in an emerging space such as energy storage, for project developers to own technology risk as well. It compromises supplier flexibility and the sourcing of competitive project financing," Rittershausen said.

The company does not have any projects co-located with wind power, but it is one of the areas Convergent expects to explore with Statoil on board as an investor.

Statoil Energy Ventures, launched in February 2016, will invest up to $200 million in various start-up companies in various sectors, such as offshore and onshore wind, solar energy, energy storage, transportation, energy efficiency and smart grids, over a period of four to seven years.

The fund will take direct positions primarily as a minority shareholder in growth companies, preferably as a co-investor with other venture firms.