Singapore-based Gurin Energy is set to invest JPY 91 billion (USD 628 million) in building a significant energy storage facility in Japan, targeting the nation's increasing demand for storage capacity driven by a rapid transition to renewable energy. The proposed site boasts a substantial output of 500 megawatts and a storage capacity of 2,000 megawatt-hours, sufficient to charge 50,000 electric vehicles. Gurin plans to bring the facility online as early as 2028.
Backed by New Zealand investment company Infratil, Gurin Energy specializes in operating solar and wind power plants across Asia, including locations in Indonesia and South Korea. The company's existing facilities, along with projects in development, have a combined capacity of over 7,000 megawatts of green energy.
To facilitate its new focus on electricity storage from renewables, Gurin intends to establish a Japanese subsidiary in the first half of 2024. The project will involve cooperation with Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems and a Nippon Koei subsidiary for the acquisition and design of batteries. Potential sites spanning 10 to 15 hectares are being considered in Fukushima and Tochigi prefectures.
Gurin's strategic move aligns with the fluctuating output from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, due to varying weather conditions and times of the day. The company aims to capitalize on purchasing surplus solar power at lower daytime prices, storing it in batteries, and selling it during the evening when demand and prices typically rise.
Gurin Energy CEO Assaad Razzouk highlighted the importance of battery storage as a regulating mechanism to balance supply and demand, especially considering the expected increase in solar, offshore, and onshore wind facilities in Japan over the next decade. Razzouk emphasized the strengthening of the power grid through the strategic placement of batteries across multiple locations in Japan.
The move towards battery storage has gained momentum globally, with Tokyo's increased subsidies for storage batteries in 2023 leading to a surge in companies entering the Japanese market. Foreign companies, leveraging their expertise, are taking the lead, with Gurin Energy joining the ranks alongside entities such as Australia's Akaysha Energy and BlackRock-owned Itochu.
Despite foreign participation, Japanese companies are also actively entering the battery storage sector. Eneos Holdings and JFE Engineering are among those exploring opportunities, with expectations of cheaper lithium-ion batteries contributing to the growth of large battery farms. BloombergNEF predicts a further decline in lithium-ion battery prices to USD 80 by 2030, reinforcing the potential for increased adoption of battery storage solutions.