Fri. Jul 19th, 2019

Engie Acquires Genbright to Unlock Power Market Worth of Distributed Storage and Photo voltaic

Engie North America has constructed a giant portfolio of distributed power tasks throughout the U.S., starting from greater than 75 megawatts of behind-the-meter battery techniques from Engie Storage (previously Inexperienced Cost Networks), to the a whole lot of megawatts of business photo voltaic tasks being developed by the developer it acquired final 12 months, SoCore Power. 

On Wednesday, Engie North America acquired Genbright, a startup with software program it believes can unlock a much wider vary of income streams for these distributed power assets (DERs), by linking them into the a number of alternatives being opened in U.S. wholesale power markets. 

Genbright, based in 2013, has constructed up a portfolio of greater than 50 megawatts of photo voltaic, storage and demand response assets now utilizing its proprietary wholesale market platform. Some showcase tasks embrace a $three million deployment of 200 Ice Power load-shifting air conditioner models on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, a 1.5 megawatt/three megawatt-hour behind-the-meter battery mission with an unnamed business buyer in Massachusetts, and a 5-megawatt/10 megawatt-hour front-of-meter battery being deployed in Maine.  

Presumably a few of Genbright’s portfolio entails Engie Storage as nicely, on condition that the corporate stated Wednesday that it has been working with the Hingham, Mass.-based startup since 2017, to “unlock the complete potential of power storage by establishing the potential to ship useful aggressive providers into wholesale electrical energy markets.”

In a Thursday interview, Engie Storage CEO Chris Tilley declined to supply specifics about the place the 2 firms are working collectively. However he did affirm that Genbright’s RAMP platform – its DER administration and market optimization software program – has been “totally integrated into our GridSynergy system,” or Engie Storage’s personal software program platform for optimizing income streams throughout a number of markets.

He additionally stated that the 2 firms are actually deploying property, with a selected give attention to New England and Massachusetts. That’s as a result of the area, and the state, are starting to see true market alternatives for the type of “stacked” income stream method Genbright makes attainable. 

ISO New England, Massachusetts emerge as key markets

“There’s a number of discuss with the ability to entry wholesale markets for batteries, however in actuality, it’s not been simple to do,” Tilley stated, outdoors a couple of uncommon exceptions, akin to Mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM’s frequency regulation market. However that’s set to vary underneath Federal Power Regulatory Fee (FERC) Order 841, handed final 12 months, which directs the nation’s grid operators to create new market mechanisms that batteries.

Totally different grid operators have taken totally different approaches to implementing FERC Order 841 – every with their personal execs and cons within the view of the power storage. However ISO New England, which operates the electrical grid in six Northeastern states,is arguably the furthest forward, with a lot of its compliance plan specified by October, and accredited by FERC in March.   

Whereas California stays the nation’s main marketplace for behind-the-meter and solar-linked storage, “Within the Northeast, Massachusetts particularly has plenty of elements, like California, which are actually supportive of power storage,” he stated. Past a statewide power storage goal of 1,000 megawatt-hours by 2025, the Photo voltaic Massachusetts Renewable Goal, or SMART, program accredited by regulators final 12 months, opens the door for battery-backed group photo voltaic and net-metered photo voltaic techniques. 

In the meantime, ISO-NE’s fast strikes to combine power storage into its markets has allowed Massachusetts tasks to start out tapping the values that unlocks, he siad. In February, state regulators allowed SMART program solar-storage tasks to bid into ISO-NE’s ahead capability program, which allowed Sunrun to win a 20-megawattbid to be aggregated from about 5,000 small photo voltaic and battery installations in buyer properties throughout the area. 

On the backup generator entrance, Genbright has partnered with NRG Power in Massachusetts to regulate them after they’re in standby mode, to earn revenues and pay for the price of set up. That’s the same supply being put ahead by partnerships like that between Cummins and Tangent Power, or bundled with photo voltaic and batteries for off-grid and industrial functions by firms like Caterpillar and Wärtsilä. 

On the identical time, Genbright has additionally been engaged on tips on how to hyperlink storage and demand-side assets with intermittent photo voltaic in methods that may assist higher combine them into the grid. In a September report, it highlighted how its portfolio of photo voltaic and demand response property throughout Massachusetts “carried out nicely” by way of a capability shortfall occasion referred to as by grid operator ISO New England – a kind of functionality that state regulators are set to require for brand new group photo voltaic tasks underneath the SMART program.  

Tilley laid out the lengthy record of challenges for a would-be battery-backed group photo voltaic mission underneath Massachusetts’ new program, and the way Genbright and Engie may help resolve them. Past the basics of behind-the-meter solar-storage techniques, like balancing federal funding tax credit score (ITC) compliance, long-term battery life, and customer-facing makes use of like demand cost administration or worth arbitrage,  “we are able to register these property into the wholesale market, bid into frequency regulation and different ancillary providers, or bid into ahead capability markets,” he stated. Engie may also present would-be mission financers that these a number of income streams can pay out over the long term, “as a result of we’ve a buying and selling desk that may set up all that.”

This whole bundle, in his view, “is one thing no different vendor can supply.” Nevertheless it comes with a caveat – these capabilities can solely be became revenues “so long as we’ve the rights to have the ability to do one thing with it within the wholesale market.”

The 2 firms’ sights are set past New England, Tilley added. Genbright is a market participant in PJM in addition to ISO-NE, and a licensed power dealer in a number of U.S. states. However Engie North America, the aggressive power arm of French utility Engie, has its personal buying and selling desk in Houston to fleets of DERs in markets throughout the nation.  

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