NextEnergy Solar Fund enters UK Energy Storage market in Joint Venture with Eelpower

£100m joint venture targets 250MW of storage assets and makes its first acquisition: 50MW storage scheme in Fife, Scotland 

Leading UK energy storage company, Eelpower Limited (Eelpower) and NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF), the specialist solar power renewable energy investment company, have established a £100m joint venture partnership which has signed its first acquisition of a 50MW standalone utility scale battery energy storage project. The joint venture is owned 70% by NESF and 30% by Eelpower. 

The 50MW storage project is a ready-to-build, standalone battery, located in Fife (Scotland), which will provide additional stability to the grid. It is expected to be energised and grid-connected in 2022. 

The Fife project is part of the £100m joint venture partnership which will be financed by NESF. Once operational the project offers the joint venture with multiple revenue opportunities including energy trading, the Capacity Market, local flexibility and Ancillary Services (including Dynamic Containment). 

Eelpower, which has been active in the UK storage market since 2015, will manage construction and provide ongoing asset management services for the Fife project and will source further storage projects for the joint venture to acquire. 

An Eelpower site in construction

The joint venture has a similar structure to Eelpower’s successful partnership with SUSI Infrastructure Partners that was announced in January 2021. 

The joint venture with Eelpower is of strategic importance to NESF as it includes a framework for the acquisition of up to 250MW (including the Fife project) of battery storage. The partnership brings together NESF’s expertise in renewables investment with the demonstrated abilities and track record of Eelpower in the energy storage market to deliver a strong pipeline of assets generating complementary revenues with NESF’s existing solar assets. 

Battery storage forms a significant part of NESF’s growth and diversification strategy, and will be a key enabler to the further market deployment of solar assets in the UK. It will contribute to the UK Government’s drive to Net Zero by reducing the UK’s need for carbon emitting energy sources whilst contributing to tackling climate change. 

Mark Simon, CEO and Co-Founder of Eelpower, said: “Eelpower was founded to make the transition to renewable energy sustainable, through the creation of a platform of grid-scale electricity storage assets. Since 2015, the Eelpower team has defined and developed this sector 

and we are delighted to partner with NextEnergy Solar Fund at the forefront of the UK storage market and accelerating the UK’s energy transition.” 

Kevin Lyon, Chairman of NextEnergy Solar Fund said: “The board and I are delighted to announce NESF’s significant move into energy storage, forming an important part of NESF’s future growth plans. The joint venture lays the foundations and provides momentum for NESF’s pipeline of energy storage assets whilst also ensuring collaboration with a specialist partner, Eelpower, in operating these assets. NESF is now demonstrably progressing its exciting growth strategy both in UK energy storage and international expansion of its portfolio of solar projects.” 

Ross Grier, UK Managing Director of NextEnergy Capital, added: “This is an exciting deal and opportunity for NESF as we introduce the first standalone utility scale battery project to the fund. We have been involved in the energy storage space for several years, having acquired two small-scale batteries back in 2017. It is encouraging to see that battery technology is now at a stage where it is feasible to introduce projects like this to the NESF portfolio. We are looking forward to securing further investment opportunities in this sub-sector alongside our partner Eelpower.”