Vitol in joint venture to build battery storage systems in U.K.

Units of the commodities trader Vitol Group and the renewables investment fund Low Carbon Ltd. said they’d invest 250 million pounds ($311 million) to develop energy storage and distributed power-generation projects in the U.K.

Their first endeavor conducted by a venture between them called VLC Energy will be two lithium-ion battery plants in the U.K., according to a statement. The facilities will have a combined capacity of 50 megawatts and require a “multi million-pound” investment, according to an e-mailed statement.

The projects will be in Cumbria and Kent, in England. Low Carbon previously won contracts in National Grid Plc’s enhanced frequency response, also known as EFR, tender in August and also qualified for the capacity market auction with delivery for 2020.

“Renewable energy is playing an increasingly important role in the U.K.’s energy mix, and as this role expands, the development of energy storage plants will be central to the future success of the U.K.’s energy network,” Roy Bedlow, chief executive officer at London-based Low Carbon, said in the statement.

The Cumbria and Kent projects have reached financial close and are now beginning construction. Low Carbon and VPI Immingham are targeting commissioning by autumn 2017. The total pipeline is expected to be deployed over three to five years.

EDF Energy Renewables Ltd., Vattenfall AB, EON SE, Element Power Ltd., RES and Belectric Solar Ltd. also won contracts to build power storage projects in the U.K.’s EFR tender.

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