Oil supermajor Total further ramped-up its ambitions in the global energy storage market as its Saft battery subsidiary opened a new production hub in China.

Saft – which Total acquired in 2016 – said the site will have capacity to produce large-scale battery units equivalent to around 480MWh annually, to store output from renewables such as wind and solar.

The 6,600 square metre facility in Zhuhai becomes the third of Saft’s ‘strategic hubs’ – the others are in Bordeaux, France and Jacksonville, US – as it shifts from being “a supplier of batteries to providing complete energy solutions” that include industrial energy storage and microgrids.

Saft forms part of Total’s wider energy transition strategy that also encompasses investments in solar, wind – onshore and offshore – and other storage initiatives such as an EV battery partnership with automotive group PSA.

The French oil & gas giant is seen as among the front-rank of fossil groups in terms of its ambitions in renewables – where it has a 35GW target by 2025 – and other clean energy markets.

Total’s president of Gas, Renewables and Power Philippe Sauquet told Recharge in an interview that the group has the global presence, technical know-how and balance sheet to be a key player in the energy transition.