Oil major Royal Dutch Shell is expected to deepen its links with rapidly expanding German battery storage manufacturer Sonnen as it continues its push into green energy technologies.
Fresh from an investment in xxx. last week, and a commitment last December to spend up to $2 billion a year in green energy technologies, Shell has been named as a potential suitor for the privately owned Sonnen.
But battery storage insiders say it is more likely that Shell - having invested in Sonnen in a €60 million (then $A95 million) funding round last May
and striking a deal to use Sonnen technology in electric vehicle fast chargers - is more likely to up its investment, or buy out one of the existing shareholders at best.
Sonnen has held funding rounds in the first half of the year in virtually every year since 2013.
Its latest funding round was designed to help fund the expansion in Australia, where it has established a manufacturing facility that will product up to 30,000 battery storage units, and which is being used as a launch pad into the Asia market. It also received 25 million from the European Investment Bank, also to help with its large virtual power plant in Germany,
The battery storage industry, however, is growing so quickly that just about every major manufacturers is making new investments. Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk recently said energy storage would outgrow the company's electric vehicle operation, and it is building new “gigafactories” in China, the US and in Europe.
Shell New Energies last month announced the purchase of California EV charging startup Greenlots, adding to a suite of investments in the EV and charging sector that include UK-based Ample and Dutch-Based New Montion in 2017.
Like its global peers in Big Oil, Shell now speaks of a future in electric mobility and “new fuels” - although it is still putting 80 per cent of its money into fossil fuels.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of Renew Economy
, and is also the founder of One Step Off The Grid
and founder/editor of The Driven
. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.