France’s EDF energy group has acquired a 50% stake in venture-backed utility BBOXX, as the companies entered an agreement to develop and market solutions for off-grid electricity in Togo, West Africa.
BBOXX is a London-based company that designs, manufactures and distributes “innovative plug & play solar systems to improve access to energy across Africa and the developing world”. They have deployed more than 150,000 systems to date.
California battery tech firm Natron Energy is to evaluate its ‘Prussian blue electrode sodium-ion’ chemistry for grid storage under an agreement with French power multinational EDF.
Natron— formerly Alveo Energy, founded in 2012 as a Stanford University spin-off— said testing and evaluation of its patented technology, based on Prussian blue analogue electrodes and a sodium-ion electrolyte, would be conducted at EDF laboratories in France.
In the shadows of more well-known and ‘fashionable’ battery chemistries flywheel technology is beginning to shine in large-scale renewable energy storage systems (ESS).
Firstly, US start-up Amber Kinetics is testing its flywheel’s ability to integrate with renewables in pilot schemes in the Philippines and Hawaii.
California’s Governor Jerry Brown has passed a demand response (DR) legislation that accelerates the use of DR programmes in the state.
DR programmes enable energy consumers to manage their consumption in an energy efficient and cost-effective way. The bill is also aimed to help the Californian state to meet its growing electricity needs.
The Public Utilities Commission now can consider demand response management in planning how to balance and ensure reliability for the state's power grid. Currently, DR programmes are administered by California’s three regulated investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. The utilities also rely on third-party operators to enroll customers in certain DR programmes.
"Demand response programs will not only enable Californians to get rebates in exchange for reducing their electricity use during times of peak energy demand, but will reduce the need for costly and polluting power plants that run only when there is peak demand for electricity,” said Senator Lois Wolk, author of the bill.
"As California continues to modernize its power grid and grow its economy, EDF hopes to see the rest of the nation follow suit to advance the innovative technologies needed to create cleaner, more efficient, and more affordable power," said EDF attorney and California senior manager Lauren Navarro-Treichler.
Power supplier EDF was lobbying for bill 1414 and emphasised the need to build a more resilient low-carbon electricity system.
Power supplier EDF Energy and World Bank Group member International Finance Corporation (IFC) have agreed to cooperate in the development of off-grid electrification in sub-Saharan Africa.
A first pilot project will start in Benin and provide electricity for 25,000 people in its first phase, using hybrid solar-diesel networks and two biomass fired power plants. Other countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Myanmar will follow at a later stage.
"Almost 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity in the world. Bringing power to these people is a major challenge that we must address”, said Bertrand Heysch de la Borde, senior manager for infrastructure in Africa at IFC.
The goal of the cooperation is to supply power to half a million people living in rural areas. EDF and IFC will also seek for sources of financing to potential projects and explore sustainable co-investment opportunities where necessary, according to the companies.
"Electricity is a vital product without which no real development is possible. Access to energy for rural populations, who are more often the most disadvantaged ones, allows poverty reduction by developing income-generating activities, while also promoting education, health, access to water, etc,” said Edouard Dahome, EDF director for Africa and access to energy.
IFC is currently providing off-grid power through its “Lighting Africa” initiative to almost 7m people in several rural regions in Africa while EDF delivers electricity to 500,000 people on the continent.