IMCO to turn Green Frog Power into battery storage force

By Dominic Ellis
The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario plans to transform Green Frog into an owner and operator of utility scale batteries following acquisition

The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of Green Frog Power and will invest up to $500 million (£288 million) over the next several years, to transform Green Frog into an owner and operator of utility scale batteries and execute on its pipeline of battery projects under development.

The transaction will enable IMCO and Green Frog to establish a global, utility-scale platform focused on battery storage assets.

“IMCO is actively seeking new and innovative ways to participate in the global transition towards a low-carbon future while accessing compelling returns for our clients,” said Bert Clark, President and CEO of IMCO. “This acquisition is an excellent example of this strategy in action and is tightly aligned with our ESG and sustainable investing objectives.”

This transaction is the first time IMCO has fully bought a company and it described it as "a marquee addition" to IMCO’s infrastructure portfolio. Green Frog was founded in 2009 and is a leading developer, owner, and operator of flexible generation projects in the UK. It has developed a substantial pipeline of near-term development projects and the Green Frog team is highly regarded with extensive expertise in design, development, construction, and operations of flexible generation assets.

“Over the past 12 years we have built Green Frog into a national leader in flexible generation,” said Jeremy Taylor, Founding Director at Green Frog Power. “We are excited to be working together to build a best-in-class scalable battery storage platform. IMCO’s acquisition enables us to continue to offer the UK market enhanced grid stability services.”

Renewable energy that is generated intermittently, like solar or wind, can cause system instability and price volatility when it is introduced into a power grid. The UK is expected to be a global leader in the adoption of intermittent renewable energy over the coming decades and battery storage is uniquely positioned to help system operators navigate this challenge.

“Utility scale batteries play a critical role in greening electricity by providing grid operators with frequency stability solutions, which enable further renewable penetration growth,” said Tim Formuziewich, Managing Director of Global Infrastructure at IMCO. “The acquisition of Green Frog gives us access to a leading flexible generation platform and a substantial development pipeline in what we believe is the early stages of a trillion-dollar utility scale battery sector.”

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.

Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO) manages $73.3 billion of assets on behalf of its clients. IMCO’s mandate is to provide broader public sector institutions with investment management services, including portfolio construction advice, better access to a diverse range of asset classes and sophisticated risk management capabilities.

Installations and research continue apace 

Huawei is among the companies striving to reshape utility scale energy storage for a renewable-powered future. It has integrated digital and power electronic technologies in PV and energy storage systems and come up with the smart string modular design, which refines the energy storage system management through the battery pack-level and rack-level optimization. The pack-level optimisation improves the charge and discharge capacity by 6%, while the rack-level optimization offers a further 7% improvement. 

CS Energy has increased its total national energy storage installation base to over 200MWh, with three projects in Florida. Two are standalone battery energy storage systems (5.5 MWh and 11.5 MWh in capacity) and the third project is a 1 MW solar carport coupled with 23MWh of energy storage.

Sandia researchers have designed a new class of molten sodium batteries for grid-scale energy storage. The new battery design was shared in a paper published on July 21 in the scientific journal Cell Reports Physical Science.

“We’ve been working to bring the operating temperature of molten sodium batteries down as low as physically possible,” said Leo Small, the lead researcher on the project. “There’s a whole cascading cost savings that comes along with lowering the battery temperature. You can use less expensive materials. The batteries need less insulation and the wiring that connects all the batteries can be a lot thinner.”

UL and Hyundai Motor Company have entered into an agreement to help further the safe deployment and use of second life battery energy storage systems (SLBESS).

"Reusing batteries in secondary applications is a promising strategy to help combat climate change and carbon emissions," said Sajeev Jesudas, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at UL. "We are excited about our collaboration with Hyundai and how we are joining together to consider second life battery applications as well as their safety and performance potential."

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