EDF, Energy Storage, Europe

EDF aims for energy storage leadership with $8bn investment

EDF is to invest $8bn in developing its battery storage capability over the next two decades.

The company is aiming at a European leadership role in energy storage after announcing plans to deploy 10GW of new projects by 2035 as part of its new Electricity Storage Plan which will also see it double investment in research and development (R&D).
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The French utility recently won a contract to deliver enhanced frequency response (EFR) in the UK with a 49 MW battery at West Burton, England. The 10 GW will add to the existing 5GW portfolio of assets operated by the company, which includes both batteries and pumped hydro storage.

While the company’s statement says its ambitions are focused on “all electricity storage markets” across all applications, EDF will focus specifically on the residential sector in France and Europe with its range of self-consumption services incorporating batteries.

In the next year, EDF says it will launch at least three battery projects to “improve the performance and balance of the power system” but would not elaborate on where these projects would be sited.

The company will also look to Africa where it hopes to develop a portfolio of 1.2 million off-grid customers by 2035 via local partnerships. Within twelve months, it plans to begin this effort by extending its services and offer access to electricity via solar panels and batteries to Ghana following success in Ivory Coast, which has so far resulted in 15,000 installations.

PV Tech reports that the increased R&D investment will reach $70m for the 2018-2020 period, while EDF’s Nouveaux Business (New Business) division will be allocating $15m in the next two years – a third of its investments – to projects and start-ups linked to electricity storage and flexibility.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chief executive and chairman, said: “Electricity storage technologies have a potential to radically change the energy sector. EDF’s Electricity Storage Plan is based on the expertise coming from all entities within our group and 25 years of investment in R&D.”

“The new limit the group is setting is a 100% carbon-free power system by 2050. By its scale, the Electricity Storage Plan, like the Solar Plan, confirms EDF’s ability to enable a competitive ecosystem in order to make our carbon-free future a reality.”