The Group is doing everything in its power to achieve our goal of 10 GW of battery energy storage worldwide by 2030. Just last year, ENGIE acquired the American company Belltown Power, which holds, among other assets, a portfolio of 2.6 GW of standalone battery storage projects. And a few days ago, the Group announced the acquisition of the American company Broad Reach Power based in Houston. With 50 dedicated employees, this Texan company holds 350 MW of operational assets and 880 MW of capacity under construction, with a planned commissioning by late 2024.
The Power of Flexibility
This move underscores the significance of the new venture in our Group's strategy, presented last February, and its growing presence in the United States, a priority country for ENGIE. Batteries offer a unique advantage: they provide flexibility, meaning “the ability to store electricity when it's generated and release it into the grid when consumers need it. They also serve as a tool for optimizing prices for producers,” explains Sébastien Arbola, Executive Vice-President in charge of Flex Gen & Retail activities, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro (in French only).
This becomes especially relevant as the Texas electricity market tightens. The increasing use of renewable energy is speeding up closures of old thermal power plants. The decrease in solar production in the late afternoon coincides with peak electricity demand. Batteries are the ideal solution to ensure a continuous power supply during peak periods. Moreover, they enhance the resilience of the electrical system during extreme weather. In February 2021, Texas faced massive power outages due to a surge in demand (caused by cold weather) combined with a decrease in production. At that time, 4.5 million households were left without electricity. Storage batteries could have strengthened the electrical system.
Recent acquisitions, along with the commissioning of the Sun Valley project (see article), bolster ENGIE's expertise in battery storage. "This acquisition is a significant accelerator for ENGIE in the development, construction, operation, and optimization of batteries. It will enable us to play a leading role in ensuring the security and continuity of electricity supply, particularly from renewable sources, at the lowest cost," explains Philippe Vedrenne, a member of the Executive Committee overseeing GEMS activities in the United States. In this regard, Broad Reach Power's expertise will benefit all entities within the Group.