15 February 2023
Zenobē, the international EV fleet and battery storage specialist, has secured a £235m long-term debt facility structured by NatWest as sole debt advisor. The financing comes from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Rabobank, Santander UK, Siemens Financial Services through Siemens Bank and NatWest to fund Zenobē’s next two grid-scale, transmission connected battery storage assets totalling 400 MW / 800 MWh.
The is the largest Project Finance facility for battery storage projects to be arranged in Europe and is a further endorsement by financial institutions of their confidence in Zenobē and its battery storage assets and infrastructure business.
The debt structure also includes a £400m accordion facility that will be used to debt finance expansions at each site as well as future projects that will bring Zenobē’s total battery storage portfolio in Scotland to 1,050MW / 2,100MWh by 2026.
The assets will be located at two of Zenobē’s transmission-connected sites in Scotland; Blackhillock, a 200MW / 400MWh site near Inverness, which will go live in the summer of 2024 and, Kilmarnock South, another 200MW / 400MWh site near Glasgow, which will go live shortly thereafter. Both sites have the ability to expand by 100MW / 200MWh. It is estimated that the initial 400MW / 800MWh phase across both projects will prevent 4,100,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over 15 years, this is equivalent to removing 150,000 cars from the road for 15 years.
With the Scottish Government announcing an ambition to deliver 20GW of additional low-cost renewable electricity generation capacity by 2030 , including 12 GW of onshore wind, Zenobē’s battery storage assets will play a crucial role in increasing the efficiency of the grid and enabling more renewable generation to be transmitted by it.
The batteries will provide a wide range of services including the balancing of supply and demand. This will ease constraints on the network by storing electricity at times of peak renewable generation and ensure network demand and consumer cost expectations are met.
The projects were awarded to Zenobē following a successful application to National Grid ESO’s Stability Pathfinder process to improve the long-term stability of the electricity system. In this instance, the assets will relieve constraints on the system and provide stability services such as inertia, short circuit level and reactive power which are critical for the UK’s energy transition.
Zenobē currently has c.430MW of contracted grid-scale battery storage in the UK, c.170MWs of which is operational, including Zenobē’s landmark 100MW battery storage asset at Capenhurst, Cheshire.
The financing was structured by NatWest as sole debt advisor. Pinsent Masons acted as borrower legal counsel with Gowling WLG as lender counsel. Consulting firms Baringa and Cornwall Insight acted as commercial advisors with DNV as technical advisor, Aon as insurance advisor and RSM as model auditor.
Nicholas Beatty, Co-founder and Director of Zenobē, said:
“Securing this first of its kind financing structure is another landmark for Zenobē and our mission to accelerate the grid’s uptake of renewable energy affordably and reliably. This follows the successful arrangement of a private placement to debt finance our existing and pipeline fleet business last year. As lead advisor, NatWest has been instrumental in developing a debt facility that enables us to deliver grid-scale battery storage projects in Scotland and presents a significant growth opportunity for our business to deliver more of these projects across the UK and elsewhere.”
Joe Taylor, Head of Project and Specialist Asset Finance, NatWest, said:
“We are delighted to continue our support of Zenobē, this time by structuring a new financing for its Network Infrastructure business. Structuring this new financing for Zenobē’s Network Infrastructure business will help further facilitate the availability of grid-scale energy storage, which is critical to support the continued transition to renewable energy generation in the UK. Zenobē’s ambitious sustainability plans reflect our own wider climate commitments, and this transaction represents an important step forward on that journey.”
Andy Matthews, Head of Greenfield, Infracapital, said:
“Storage is a crucial area within the energy transition sector and this milestone financing supporting the delivery of 800MWh of storage is testament to that. Grid balancing and stability are becoming increasingly important issues for the UK’s energy system, as we increase the adoption of intermittent renewable energy generation, and it is fantastic that Zenobe are leading industry in implementing solutions to address these challenges and support the deployment of renewables.”
Notes to editors
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Sources and calculations to back up comments above:
CO2 savings are benchmarked against the provision of power and/or Stability services versus a gas peaking plant (540gCO2e/kWh) or CCGT (450g CO2 e/kWh, operating at Stable Export Limit for provision of Stability services), depending on the time of operation. Carbon intensity of imported energy to charge the battery is assumed as per the GB-wide forecast (annual, average) in NGESO’s Future Energy Scenario, ‘Leading the Way’. This is a conservative assumption considering the high penetration of renewable generation and otherwise curtailed power in Scotland.
Consumer savings of £375m reflects savings of £47m from the Stability contracts and savings of £328m from providing balancing services and constraint management to the grid and helping reduce price volatility. The £47m of consumer savings assumes that the stability contracts (9-10yr contract length), secured for both projects, will avoid the use of CCGT’s, which would otherwise be out-of-merit, to provide inertia and SCL. CCGT efficiency assumed at 55% and Stable Export Limit of 35%. Average gas price over contract length assumed at £40/MWh, which is conservative considering the high price outlook for gas over the next decade. The £328m of balancing services and constraint management assumes that the assets cycle twice a day and provide a reasonable level of savings to the control room vs the alternative actions that would be taken e.g. curtailing wind for bid actions during constraints, more competitively priced offer actions than gas peakers / CCGTS.
The active power CO2 savings calculation assumes that the BESS asset displaces a gas peaker that would otherwise provide the same services to the grid. Battery efficiency, degradation, and cyclability of the BESS asset are all accounted for in the calculation as well as the forecast decarbonisation of the grid. The CO2 savings are driven by the difference in the carbon intensity of the energy mix of the grid, from which the BESS asset is charged, to burning gas in a gas peaker. Give the grid carbon intensity is assumed to decrease over time, annual CO2 savings of increase with time.
About Zenobē Energy Ltd. (Zenobē):
Zenobē is an international EV fleet and grid-scale battery storage specialist, headquartered in the UK with operations in Europe and Australasia. It has c. 1.6GW of battery storage in the UK either in operation, in construction or in late stage development which equates to c.25% market share forecast by 2026. It has around 25% market share of the UK EV bus sector and c.1000 electric vehicles contracted globally. The company is the largest owner and operator of EV buses in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
The company’s pioneering battery storage offering enables power grid operators to provide clean, secure and affordable power, accelerating the global transition to Net Zero energy systems. Zenobē’s fleet solution is driving the adoption of electric vehicles and reducing emissions from the transport and logistics sectors. Its ETaaS (Electric Transport-as-a-Service) solution provides fleet operators and local authorities with a full solution for a pay-per-month fee including charging infrastructure, battery replacement and award-winning software. Zenobē is also a leader in second life battery repurposing EV batteries after their first life, providing incremental power solutions to large business and the film and events industries.
For more information, please visit www.zenobe.com
NatWest serves customers in England and Wales, supporting them with their personal, private, and business banking needs. NatWest helps customers at all stages in their lives, from opening student accounts, to buying their first home, setting up a business, and saving for retirement. Alongside a wide range of banking services, NatWest offers businesses specialist sector knowledge in areas such as manufacturing and technology, as well as access to specialist entrepreneurial support.
Infracapital invests in, builds and manages a diverse range of essential infrastructure to meet the changing needs of society and support long-term economic growth. It takes an active role in all of its investments, creating value for investors. The founder-led team of experienced specialists has worked with more than 60 companies around Europe and has raised and managed over £6.8 billion of client capital across six funds.
Infracapital is part of M&G Plc, an international savings and investments business, managing money for around 5 million retail customers and more than 800 institutional clients in 28 markets. Total assets under management are £348.9 billion (as at 30 June 2022).
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Pete leads Zenobē’s growing team of Product specialists across all areas of the business. His team oversee our R&D as well as product development in both hardware and software.
He has been working in the European E-Mobility sector from over ten years, specialising in the design, build and delivery of software systems for EV Charging.