LONDON (Reuters) - Foresight Group has made its first foray into battery energy storage, buying a 35 megawatt (MW) project in Britain, the infrastructure and private equity investment manager said on Wednesday.
Attracted by the prospects of a business that aims to tap increasing demand for storage of renewable power, Foresight will use its Foresight ITS fund to buy the project in Port of Tyne in northeast England from RES (Renewable Energy Systems).
Foresight, which has about 2.6 billion pounds ($3.28 billion) of assets under management, did not give a price for the deal.
The project, which is expected to start operations next year, already has contracts with Britain's National Grid (NG.L), to provide electricity balancing services and a government contract to provide back-up power to the system when demand is high. RES, will continue to build and operate the project, Foresight said.
Rapid growth of solar and wind energy means that power supplies increasingly rely on the wind blowing or sun shining.
As a result, utilities are looking for new ways to store renewable energy for release into the grid when supplies are low.
In Britain the challenge is especially acute because the buffer between supply and demand is tighter than in other European countries, with ageing fossil fuel plants being shut down.
"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," Dan Wells, a partner at Foresight, said in a statement.
Foresight funds manage a portfolio of more than 80 solar power projects in the UK, southern Europe, Australia and North America, as well as 28 Energy from Waste projects in Britain.
($1 = 0.7924 pounds)
Editing by David Goodman