The billion-dollar battery boom
Jul 26, 2019 03:19 PM ET
- Corporations are buying up batteries and investing in their companies like it’s going out of style.
A battery installation co-located with a PV project in the United Kingdom. Becquerel Institute’s Masson talks of the need to integrate batteries further into the grid, to benefit the entire system rather than individual projects.
We live in a highly electrified world, one that is only expanding on the penetration of electrification. It should come as no surprise then, that in an electric world, the value of batteries and their vast potential cannot be understated.
Investors are taking notice of the potential of batteries too, a fact outlined by the Mercom Capital Group, which has released its H1 and Q2 2019 Funding and M&A report on battery storage, smart grid, and efficiency.
Over the last year, venture capital (VC) investment in these three sectors has skyrocketed, from $843 million over 51 deals in 1H 2018 to $1.7 billion over 43 VC funding deals during 1H 2019.
The focus, however, is really on battery storage, with VC funding in Battery Storage companies hitting an insane growth of 139%. This 139% represents $1.4 billion over 17 deals compared to the $543 million over 30 deals in 1H 2018.
As an aside, notice how two of the investors in the largest deal above – the $1 Billion funding for Northvolt – are from ownership groups of automakers Volkswagen and BMW. This makes perfect sense, as both companies have begun to make forays into the electric vehicle (EV) market, with BMW releasing its i3, while Volkswagen promises up to 8 different EV models in the coming years. What are EVs if not just batteries with a mobility component?
And VC isn’t even the most impressive sector for growth. Total corporate funding in battery storage rose even more drastically to $1.9 billion over 22 deals compared to $689 million in 36 deals in 1H 2018. That’s over 275% growth for anybody without a calculator handy.
If you’re still surprised, that’s surprising. Battery coupling for storage projects grows more popular by the day. In fact the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) has predicted that the cumulative volume of battery storage deployed to date will more than double to 2,500 MW in the United States by 2023.
Not only are batteries becoming more common, but larger, with utilities one-upping each other in quest of constructing the largest one. That title, by the way, is being hotly pursued by Florida Power and Light. The utility has a behemoth under construction at its Manatee Solar Energy Center in Parrish, Florida. The battery is set to clock in at an unbelievable 409 MW. The exact storage capacity is not known as the hour rating has not been given, but it will likely be either 1,636 MWh or 2,045 MWh.
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