Total says to build France's biggest battery power storage project

PARIS (Reuters) - Energy major Total said on Thursday it had launched a project to construct the largest battery storage facility in France which could help boost the growth of intermittent renewable power in the French energy mix.

The logo of French oil and gas company Total is seen in a petrol station in Paris, France February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/Files

The 25 megawatt (MW) capacity battery power storage facility in Dunkirk, northern France, will be used to provide fast power reserve services to support the stability of the French electricity grid, the company said.

Total, like other oil majors, is expanding its foothold in the renewables energy sector.

It plans to invest around $2 billion annually to grow its low carbon business, and increase its renewable energy generation capacity to 25 gigawatts by 2025 from around 6 GW by the end of 2020.

“This project is part of Total’s strategy to develop the stationary energy storage solutions that are critical to the expansion of renewable energy, which is intermittent by nature,” Total’s Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanne, said in a statement.

“It will contribute toward the goal of increasing the share of renewables in France’s energy mix, while helping to stabilize the domestic power grid,” Pouyanne added.

Total said the storage facility is scheduled to be commissioned later in this year. The system, in which it will invest around 15 million euros ($16.92 million), will be developed by Total’s battery subsidiary Saft.

Battery power storage is expected to grow as the intermittent supply from renewable energies like solar and wind increases, pushing grid operators to have more power reserves on standby.

France’s grid operator RTE, launched a separate project in January to test the integration of battery storage to the grid.

RTE said the project, called Ringo, in which Total’s Saft will also participate in, will add three battery storage facilities to the grid with a total capacity of around 32 MW.

It said the batteries will enable it to test the occasional storage of surplus renewables electricity production which cannot be transported by the network at a given time. RTE said power storage facilities will help avoid production losses from renewables.

Reporting by Bate Felix, Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten