A €100 million (US$114.44 million) fund will be used to develop and deploy microgrid and energy storage projects by engineering and automation firm ABB, which has recently launched a new line of solutions in those areas.

The Switzerland-headquartered technology company has signed a framework agreement with SUSI Partners, a renewable energy investment advisor, which has committed a €100 million fund for clean energy infrastructure projects.

The advisory firm is already known for its activities financing energy storage, including significant deals in rapid growth markets such as the commercial and industrial (C&U) sector in Ontario, Canada. It will structure and finance projects utilising ABB’s branded Ability microgrid tech and battery storage solutions, through the dedicated ‘Energy Storage Fund’. The fund’s first closing was achieved at €66 million (US$70.4 million) in April 2017.

A release from ABB said the technologies can help manage power availability and the balancing and integrating of diverse generation sources including growing renewable energy penetration. The partnership will aim to tackle these “challenges and opportunities” brought about by the global energy transformation.

“This partnership with ABB, a renowned and knowledgeable technology partner, broadens SUSI’s investment scope and we expect it to contribute in attracting numerous investment opportunities for the SUSI Energy Storage Fund globally,” SUSI Partners chief investment officer Marco Van Daele said.

ABB launched Ability in mid-January. The power electronics-based portfolio comprises five different active technology solutions for managing power quality in energy storage-based electrical systems. The company describes it as a “new multi-functional power quality and energy storage solution designed to mitigate a range of power quality problems for electrical networks”.

The suite includes:

PQflexC – a variable active power controller

PQdynaC – ultra-fast reactive power and unbalance controller

PQactiF – active harmonic filter

PQStorI – battery storage inverter with power quality functions 

PQoptiM – the control and monitoring component for power quality parameters

The Ability platform enables operation and control of systems in real-time via cloud-based networks, while the company claims the active power electronics equipment is compact compared to traditional solutions which lean more on heavy duty electrical components such as capacitor banks.

In announcing the agreement with SUSI, ABB identified potential opportunities in areas including carbon emissions and cost reductions for C&I customers, leaning on expertise gained in projects including 40 microgrids to date for the automation and power firm.

Recent projects include a solar-plus-storage microgrid at the firm’s own manufacturing facility in Gujarat, India, and a 24.5MW microgrid and energy storage facility in Jamaica.

Meanwhile, in launching Ability earlier in the month, ABB said it can help integrate distributed and clean energy resources such as wind and solar into energy networks, as well as identifying opportunities to power large data centres, EV charging and even high-speed railways. 

In mid-December, Japan’s Hitachi announced it will acquire ABB’s power grids business, in a deal which Hitachi president and CEO Toshiaki Higashihara said would “combine ABB’s strengths in the power grid business” with Hitachi’s digital technology

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