‘We’re hybridising everything’: Amp Energy and the future of energy storage
It’s a challenge well understood by Amp Energy. Founded as a solar developer in Toronto, Canada, in 2009, the company developed and built over 2.5 gigawatts (GW) of wind, solar and battery storage assets across the UK, US, Japan, India and Australia.
In late 2020 the company secured $374 million in investment from the Carlyle Group, both to help increase its asset base and support the growth of its proprietary grid-edge technology business, Amp X.
Most recently it has set its sights on two pioneering energy storage projects in Scotland’s central belt.
As co-founder and chief investment officer Paul Ezekiel explained, these form part of a wider shift amongst the company’s portfolio as it looks to make the most of the assets themselves, and the challenges posed by the energy transition.
“The strategy is no longer just standalone generation,” Mr Ezekiel said. “Just from a risk perspective, it actually makes more sense to put physical edge battery storage on site, so we’re hybridising everything we’re doing around the world,” alongside some markets where it also has a “standalone storage strategy.”
That strategy will see the company build the two largest battery storage facilities in Europe at strategically located sites in Hunterston on the Ayrshire coast, and Kincardine, north of Grangemouth on the river Forth.
Dubbed the “Scottish Green Battery Complex”, these will consist of two 400-MW battery facilities, each providing 800 megawatt-hours (MWhr) of storage capacity.
The projects will provide reliable grid stability services and power management across the central belt and are of particular importance in their proximity to load centres like Glasgow and Edinburgh and local transmission infrastructure to move power into the wider grid network.
Due to be operational in April 2024, Amp says the facilities will enable up to 1,750 GWhr per year of additional renewable energy to be generated in Scotland and transported to other regions of the UK – the equivalent of approximately 500 MW of new offshore wind deployments.
This will help future-proof electricity infrastructure “at a fraction of the cost of expensive transmission upgrades,” the company says.
It will also serve as the first UK deployment for the company’s AI-backed Amp X platform, which will be used to optimise dispatch of power from the batteries to the main electricity grid, as well as providing additional services like frequency and demand response.
“Coming from a trading background we have a particular set of expertise. Battery storage is way more complex than a standalone generation asset, given the complexity around dispatch,” he continued.
“That places us well in terms of our experience…there’s a lot more value in the flexibility of a battery.”