Environment

Norwegian oil giant Equinor to buy U.S.-based battery storage firm

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Although it is involved in renewable energy projects, Equinor is a major producer of fossil fuels. The Norwegian state has a 67% holding in the company.
Hakon Mosvold Larsen | Afp | Getty Images

Norway’s Equinor is to acquire U.S.-based battery storage developer East Point Energy after signing an agreement to take a 100% stake in the company.

Equinor, a major producer of oil and gas, said Tuesday that Charlottesville-headquartered East Point Energy had a 4.1-gigawatt pipeline of “early to mid-stage battery storage projects focused on the US East Coast.”

According to Equinor, the transaction is slated for completion in the third quarter of 2022.

“Battery storage will play an important role in the energy transition as the world increases its share of intermittent renewable power,” Equinor said.

“Battery storage is key to enabling further penetration of renewables, can contribute to stabilizing power markets and improve the security of supply,” it added.

In Dec. 2021, the International Energy Agency said the world’s installed storage capacity was projected to jump by 56% over the next five years, hitting 270 GW by 2026.

According to the IEA, the chief driver of this growth is “the increasing need for system flexibility and storage around the world to fully utilise and integrate larger shares of variable renewable energy … into power systems.”

The IEA says investment in battery storage grew by nearly 40% in 2020, reaching $5.5 billion.

Formerly known as Statoil, Equinor’s chief shareholder is the Norwegian state, which has a 67% holding in the company.

Its plans to acquire East Point Energy represent the company’s latest foray into the U.S. It already has substantial oil and gas operations in the country and is working on large-scale offshore wind projects.

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In 2021, the IEA said there should be “no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects, and no further final investment decisions for new unabated coal plants.”

What’s more, a recent report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also weighed in on the subject of fossil fuels.

“Limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector,” the IPCC said in a news release accompanying its publication.

“This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen),” the IPCC said.

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