Centrica to sell Direct Energy for $3.63bn
Direct Energy has been bought by the American power firm NRG Energy. Centrica took the decision to sell Direct Energy in light of a difficult financial prognosis due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and low commodity prices.
The money raised from the deal will be used to reduce the British company’s net debt.
The Chief Executive of Centrica Group, Chris O’Shea, said that the deal was a good one for all parties: “We had a number of expressions of interest in Direct Energy but it came down to the right price and the right buyer”.
NRG will now serve six million retail customers in North America, three million more than before the purchase of Direct Energy. Having previously operated mainly in Texas, it makes the company a more prominent player in the eastern United States in particular.
Centrica now faces an uncertain future. The group has suffered a 14% drop in operating profit to £343mn ($436.3mn), largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit commodity prices and lowered energy usage. Last month it announced plans to cut 5,000 jobs, or one-fifth of its global workforc
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.