Foresight enters UK battery sector with 35MW buy

The firm is looking to take advantage of the high demand for storing renewable energy production with the purchase of its first system in north-eastern England.

Foresight Group has made its first deal in the energy storage space, purchasing a 35MW battery project in north-eastern England from Renewable Energy Systems.

Investing from its Foresight ITS fund, the UK-based infrastructure and private equity firm acquired the battery system under development in Port of Tyne. Foresight did not disclose financial details about the deal.

Foresight, which manages around £2.6 billion ($3.29 billion; €2.95 billion) of assets, is positioning itself to participate in the growing market demand for storage of renewable energy.

“The acquisition consolidates Foresight's position as a leader in investing both in renewable energy generation and the flexible grid infrastructure required to accommodate increasing penetration of renewables, such as energy storage,” Dan Wells, a partner at Foresight, explained.

The project Foresight purchased is expected to start operations next year. It has signed a four-year frequency-response contract and a 12-year capacity contract with National Grid, providing electricity balancing services and back-up power when demand is high.

Earlier this month, Infrastructure Investor reported the firm is aiming for a first close on its Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners fund by the end of the year. FEIP is targeting £500 million with a hard-cap of £700 million.

The UK has increasingly sought to build out battery storage systems to complement its renewables production. Last year, it procured 201MW of enhanced frequency response systems through a tender in August and held a capacity auction that awarded tenders for 500MW of battery storage contracts.