Recharge invests in Younicos’ groundbreaking island renewable storage project

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Younicos is reaping the benefits of a rejuvenated drive to find renewable energy storage solutions. The intelligent energy storage and grid solutions company provides software for grid-connected battery storage, which includes optimizing solutions for solar diesel hybrids. These features saw the Berlin-based firm attract investment at the back end of last year, and the company is continuing to generate positive interest with the project on the Portuguese island of Graciosa, which is being developed by Younicos.

The project, a world’s first, will enable 100% spontaneous renewable power penetration when put into “island mode,” as the Younicos software and controls will enable the battery power plant to balance short-term power fluctuations. This will allow the island to replace two-thirds of its fossil fuel with renewable energy, as the former will only be needed for back-up power during prolonged periods of unfavorable weather.

This innovative project piqued the attention of Dutch sustainable and green energy investor Recharge A/S, who has taken a 50.1% stake in the project, valued at €24 million. “The business model pioneered here makes the financing of the changeover to renewables an attractive investment that can be replicated wherever power is generated by expensive imported fuel,” said Scott Macaw, co-founder and Director of Recharge.

As far as the scale of the project, a 1 MW PV power plant has already been installed, and is supplying power to the small island, while a 4.5 MW wind park is currently being installed. These will be supported by a fully automated 3.2 MWh intelligent battery park that will balance the short-term power fluctuations.

This will transfer the energy reliance of this remote island away from expensive imported fuel and on to renewable energy, with the resulting savings shared between the investors and the Portuguese end consumers, under the terms of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). “Recharge is helping to create a whole new renewable energy asset class that will drive the implementation of low carbon – and low cost – technologies around the globe,” said Younicos CEO Stephen L. Prince. “Our technology allows us to use as many renewables as is economically optimal. This is not only drastically reducing CO2 emissions, but also lowering energy costs, since we are replacing expensive imported diesel fuel through locally produced renewable energy.”

The future looks bright for Younicos, as more investors buzz around the company’s technology, while it plans to team up with battery provider Leclanché, for future projects on other Azorean islands.