€34M raised for the largest storage power plant in continental Europe in Deux-Acren (Belgium)
On December 1, 2022, Corsica Sole inaugurated the largest storage power plant in continental Europe, with the support of its shareholder Mirova, via its Mirova Energy Transition 5 fund. Michael Coudyser, CEO of Corsica Sole, said: "This project is an important step for the development of electricity storage solutions in Europe. We financed this project in 2021 with our shareholder Mirova without recourse to any public subsidy." But far from being concluded, Corsica Sole wants to develop this financing and has given Tevali Partners a mandate to assist it in this process.
€34M: a debt raising on an industrial scale for Corsica Sole
The financial advisor dedicated to the energy transition then launched a consultation with lenders of all kinds - banks and debt funds - in a complex context in two respects: the increase in interest rates and the rising price of electricity.
Steven Kassab, Partner, and founder of Tevali Partners: "For this large-scale industrial operation, the banks' offers were less suitable because the financing of these infrastructures is not yet standardized. The debt funds were more ingenious and flexible in the way they dealt with the different levels of risk inherent in this operation, thus ensuring an efficient sizing of the debt as well as an appropriate management of the covenants over the life of the project".
In the end, Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management was selected, via its BRIDGE infrastructure debt fund, for a €34 million debt.
Shirley Chojnacki, Investment Director of the BRIDGE fund at Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management: "What particularly interested us in the Deux-Acren power plant project was its innovative dimension, with sufficient critical size. There are very few similar projects in operation on the market. Furthermore, energy storage allows for the accelerated integration of renewable energies into the energy mix, which is a key investment theme for us".
Jean-Francis Dusch, CEO of Edmond de Rothschild UK, CIO of Benjamin de Rothschild Infrastructure Debt Generation (BRIDGE) and Global Head of Infrastructure, Real Assets & Structured Finance comments: "We are very proud of this new investment which fits perfectly into our infrastructure debt portfolio and our commitment to the Energy Transition, a core priority of Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management (EDRAM). We are delighted with this transaction made in partnership with Corsica Sole and Mirova".
The largest storage power plant in continental Europe
The Deux-Acren power plant can store a quantity 100 MWh of energy using lithium-ion batteries, at a power level of up to 50 MW. This allows it to ensure the regulation of the frequency on the European electrical transport network. This energy storage helps to stabilize electrical networks by ensuring the balance between production and consumption. Today, this function is performed by oil or gas-fired power plants, making the European grid dependent on fossil fuels.
Connected to the public electricity grid, storage power plants provide "services" to the grid operator to ensure the stability of energy distribution. These services have different functions: regulating the frequency of the network, compensating for the intermittency of renewable energies, and storing energy during low consumption periods to be reinjected during high consumption.
Steven Kassab, Partner, and founder of Tevali Partners: "Battery energy storage on an industrial scale is one of the newest and therefore least mature technologies in the energy transition sector. We face a complex business model that is less familiar to lenders. Market revenues are based on calls for tender that are organized daily to go and regulate the frequency of the network. Infrastructure financiers like to have contracted and secured revenues. But in this kind of project, the business model is 'elastic' dependant on the market context".