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Engie acquires US storage company Green Charge

French energy group Engie – formerly known as GDF Suez – has acquired Green Charge Networks, the California-based battery-storage company, as the trend of global energy giants piling into the electricity storage sector gains pace.

Engie will buy an 80% stake in privately held Green Charge for an undisclosed sum, the companies said in a statement.

Engie’s announcement follows the news earlier this week that French oil major Total intends to buy the battery-maker Saft for more than $1bn.

Green Charge is a leading player in the burgeoning US battery-storage sector. It develops, owns and operates behind-the-meter battery systems for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers in the US, with 48MWh either deployed or under construction across 150 sites. Its systems are often integrated with PV.

“With Green Charge, Engie immediately gains a strong position in the growing battery storage market in the US and further develops its offering of load-management solutions at customer sites,” says Engie chief executive Isabelle Kocher.

“This acquisition will also reinforce Engie’s strengths and skills in the activities of decentralised energy management, off-grid solutions and power reliability – which are identified as areas for growth for the group around the world,” Kocher says.

Last year Engie invested in Tendril, the Colorado-based smart-grid company – in which Total’s SunPower is also an investor.

Green Charge chief executive Vic Shao says Engie’s backing will allow the company to expand both across the US and internationally.

“Engie’s long-term financial and commercial support presents an opportunity to scale our business to a completely new level,” Shao says.

With the market for both large and small storage systems expected to grow rapidly in the years ahead, a variety of energy companies are pushing into the sector, from utilities like E.ON to project developers like Invenergy to construction companies like Mortensen.

EDF Renewable Energy recently acquired Maryland-based groSolar to better offer solar and storage products to its expanding roster of C&I clients.

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