French utility Engie (EPA:GSZ), formerly GDF Suez, paid USD 6 million (EUR 5.3m) to acquire a stake in California-based start-up developing energy storage solutions.
Following the transaction, which was carried out through its corporate venture fund Engie New Ventures, the French company has become the largest strategic investor in Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS), Engie said in a press release last Monday.
AMS bets on utility-scale business-to-business energy storage solutions and has recently landed one of the first and largest utility contracts for energy storage in the US. It is now building 50 MW of energy storage projects for Southern California Edison, a US utility company. Using Tesla energy storage systems, these projects will become the first hybrid-electric building fleets used for grid support in the world.
In a market, which could be worth USD 6 billion in 2020, AMS expects its business to grow at a rapid pace in the four years to come. Engie will focus its full support to expand AMS solutions in the US market and overseas.
With global renewable energy capacities expected to grow by 24% between 2015 and 2020, the world of energy is taking a decisive turn for decades to come, Engie said in a statement. While dropping manufacturing costs are making renewables competitive against most fossil fuels, the last hurdle remaining was their intermittency. Thanks to energy storage solutions developed by AMS, businesses and utilities will now enjoy full profit from renewable energies, the French company noted.
AMS represents the second investment of Engie New Ventures in the US in less than a year. Last February, Engie took a minority stake in Tendril, a Colorado-based company working on reinventing energy service management thanks to an open, cloud-based software platform.
Launched in May 2014, Engie New Ventures has so far invested a total of EUR 25 million in 8 companies.