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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

EDF to invest up to €600m in energy storage-focused research

Energy storage refers to the capture of energy generated through solar, wind and other sources for use at a later time through batteries and devices

Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman and chief executive of EDF Group, at the opening of a 200MW plant for the third phase of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman and chief executive of EDF Group, at the opening of a 200MW plant for the third phase of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National

French utility company EDF will look to invest up to €600 million (Dh2.65 billion) in research and development focused on energy storage as it looks to invest around $10bn in the sector by 2035, its chairman and chief executive said.

“We’re investing altogether around €600m every year and more and more significant part of that is in storage whether it is for batteries or for energy management systems, utility scale solutions and so on. It’s part of the research and development project," Jean-Bernard Levy said on the sidelines of the opening of a 200 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant that forms part of the third phase of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park, which EDF is building in consortium with Abu Dhabi’s Masdar.

Energy storage refers to the capture of energy generated through solar, wind and other sources for use at a later time through batteries and devices to ensure reliability of power grid supply. State-backed EDF, which has interests in nuclear, renewables, gas as well as coal plans to develop or acquire more than 10 gigawatts of energy storage capacity by 2035.

“Storage will become a mandatory part of the energy systems, so that you can really regulate the power and bring power to everybody even when there is little wind and even when there is little sun and we will look at storage in an opportunistic way and we intend to deploy our storage capacity globally," said Mr Levy.

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EDF, whose portfolio includes around 4.6 per cent hydroelectricity worldwide, will look to develop storage capacity with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, the emirate’s utilities developer, in its upcoming hydro project in the enclave of Hatta.

The 250MW hydroelectric power project - the first in the GCC - will involve pumping water to the top of a hill in the morning and releasing the stored water to generate electricity through turbines at night, complementing the existing power generation grid, said Mr Levy.

The company is also looking to jointly develop opportunities abroad with Masdar.

“There are at least six or seven other countries in the world where we are seeking jointly some new business between Masdar and EDF,” Mr Levy said.

EDF is looking to grow its renewables business from 28GW at present to 50GW by 2030, with increasing emphisis on wind, solar storage and district heating, he added.

Mr Levy, who met with the Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his visit to Paris last month, declined to comment whether talks on developing the kingdom’s nuclear reactors formed part of the agenda.

The group will look to engage in wind projects in Egypt and was also eyeing opportunities in Oman, he added.