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Enel eyes digital growth with Demand Energy deal

The Italian group is betting on the 'strategic intersection' of renewables production, energy storage and management systems through its purchase of the US company.

Italian utility Enel has fully acquired US start-up Demand Energy Networks, planning to combine its renewable energy portfolio with a company developing energy storage and management software.

Enel said in a statement that purchasing Demand Energy, for an undisclosed amount, would allow it to combine its 36GW renewables portfolio with a company developing energy storage systems and software to manage consumption in the New York City area. The utility, which purchased Demand Energy through its subsidiary Enel Green Power North America, said the deal is part of its strategy to prioritise digital growth.

“By combining our global presence and expertise in systems integration with Demand Energy’s software and established product offering, we will expand the development of renewables and storage both in the US and globally,” said Enel’s global head of renewable energy, Francesco Venturini.

Energy storage is an infrastructure sector that is buzzing with potential because of its ability to pair with renewable energy assets, decreasing intermittent production when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow. Last year in the US, $812 million was invested in energy storage as of 30 September, according to the US Energy Storage Association.

Demand Energy has developed software it calls the Distributed Energy Network Optimisation System, which allows for control over how electricity is generated, stored and consumed. The company has developed 24 storage projects totalling 3MW or 9MWh of installed capacity in the US and Latin America.

“Our acquisition by Enel underscores the strategic intersection of renewable energy production, energy storage and an intelligent software controls platform,” Demand Energy chief executive Gregg Patterson said.

In North America, Enel manages a 2.8GW portfolio of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydro assets.

Macquarie Capital made headlines last year when it agreed to one of the largest energy storage deals in the world. In July, it committed $200 million to Advanced Microgrid Solutions to have exclusive rights to 200MW of projects built in California.