This week’s Smart Energy Finances puts the spotlight on UK-based Kraken Technologies, which has signed a deal with energy manager Tenaska Power Services (TPS), marking Kraken’s first US licensee.
In Europe, two new bonds have been issued; a corporate bond of €206 million ($222 million) from Swissgrid to secure the electricity reserve for Winter and a €500 million ($538.7 million) green bond in the Netherlands to finance investments in the electricity grid.
Kraken’s US entry
The fast growing energy tech company, owned by Octopus Energy, has signed a strategic collaboration with TPS, which will see Kraken managing their customer battery sites in Texas. This will be the initial implementation for the newly signed partnership, which is hoped to expand across TPS’s US portfolio.
According to TPS, which forms part of Tenaska, one of the largest natural gas and electric power marketing companies in the US, the collaboration will enable them greater operational flexibility, enhanced grid stability and optimised customer revenue streams.
TPS’s portfolio includes over 23GW of solar, wind, energy storage and 10 carbon sequestration projects, capable of storing 50 million tons of CO2 per year.
Kraken touts its cloud-based platform as providing “end-to-end management of the whole energy supply chain”, they state in a joint-issued release announcing the partnership.
The platform extends from flexible energy device management to customer billing and support and is offered to companies with the aim of unlocking “the full potential of their wind and solar farms or batteries by using advanced data analytics, AI and optimisation to maximize device usage, revenues and environmental benefit.”
Kraken is currently contracted to manage over 6GW across more than 45,000 green energy assets and is targeting the management of 200,000 assets and 10GW of energy capacity by the end of 2023.
Texas has long been aiming to fill a leadership position in the renewables scene; according to NPR, the state now produces the most wind power in the US and is forecast to soon tout the same for solar.
Earlier this year, Kraken owner Octopus Energy announced the creation of a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) in Texas alongside Enphase Energy, Inc., which will enable the energy major to bid their clean energy assets in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) ancillary markets.
With the deal, Kraken’s platform is now active in 14 countries including the UK, the US, Japan, Australia and a large portion of mainland Europe.
Octopus Energy’s operations span 14 countries; the group invests in, builds and flexibly manages renewable energy, operating a £6 billion ($7.5 billion) portfolio of projects – one of Europe’s largest.
Grid and Winter reserves fuel European bonds
In the EU, two separate bonds – one corporate and one green – have been announced; €206 million ($222 million) from Swiss grid and €500 million ($538.7 million) in the Netherlands.
Swissgrid’s corporate bond, placed on the capital market, will see proceeds used to repay the utility’s current financial liabilities and finance ongoing investments, procurement costs and the costs of the electricity reserve for the Winter.
The bond was launched in the shorter maturity segment with a coupon rate of 1.90% and a term of three years.
The bond marks one of many from the Swiss TSO – the last launched in May last year – which has reported strong business performance from 2022, including upped investments by 23.4% and net income of €99.4 million ($107 million).
The bond will be listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and included in the Swiss Bond Index.
This is one of the additional tasks that the federal government has assigned to Swissgrid to ensure the country’s security of supply, citing the modernisation of their transmission system as key to their net zero ambitions and Energy Strategy 2050.
A new five-year strategy period was initiated by Swissgrid at the beginning of the 2023 financial year, including measures to ensure Switzerland’s grid-related security of supply in the long term.
The majority of Swissgrid’s share capital is jointly held by various Swiss electricity companies.
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Electrical network operator Alliander’s €500 million green bond has been issued; the capital will be used to finance investments in the electricity grid.
The network company has already issued four green bonds publicly, now amounting to €2.2 billion ($2.4 billion).
The bond loan has a term of 5 years and a coupon interest of 3.25%.
It is the latest effort from Dutch grid operators to finance grid infrastructure to ease recurring bottlenecks.
Earlier this year in March, the country’s regional network operators published an investment scenario report under the flag of Netbeheer Nederland to elaborate on investment plans and strategies.
Alliander has set up a Green Finance Framework for issuing green bonds, under which the electric company can place other forms of sustainable financing, such as money market paper and private loans.
The new Green Bond will be listed on Euronext Amsterdam.
Alliander has also stated its intent to invest over €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) per year in the coming years to make the energy system future-proof.
I will be attending European Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels from 20 to 22 June. Will I see you there?
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