Trafigura joint venture Nala Renewables kickstarts investments with battery storage in Belgium

by John Shepherd
Nyrstar's Balen site. Photo: Nyrstar
Newly-formed investment company Nala Renewables is making its first foray into power storage – with a planned €30m (£27m) investment in a 100 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) project in Belgium.

Nala, a 50-50 joint venture of commodities trader Trafigura and institutional fund manager IFM Investors, said the lithium-ion BESS will be its "first live project”.

The BESS will be built in the first half of this year, subject to permit approval, at the site of a zinc smelting facility in Balen, which is owned by Trafigura’s majority-owned metals and mining business, Nyrstar. 
Construction is expected to be completed in 2022, but a Nyrstar spokesperson told New Energy 360 they could not discuss the battery technology or supplier.

Grid stability

Once operational, Trafigura said the BESS "will be able to store 25 MW for over four hours” and provide stability and balancing services for the Belgian grid – in addition to helping shift renewable energy production into periods of high energy demand.

Julien Rolland, head of power and renewables trading for Trafigura, said: "Projects located on land associated with Nyrstar’s smelting operations are an early focus for Nala Renewables, with similar concepts being formulated for other assets, such as Puma Energy’s Puerto Rico facilities and the MATSA mine in southern Spain.”

"Weather-reliant renewables, such as wind and solar, generate energy intermittently. This needs to be combined with high-capacity energy storage and rapid-release systems that can be used to align peaks and troughs in power generation with changing patterns in demand.”

Nala Renewables was formed in 2020 to invest in solar, wind and power storage projects around the world.

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