Swiss manager turns to pension capital to double battery energy storage portfolio
A Swiss fund manager with substantial capital allocations from multiple pension funds and other big institutional investors for its energy transition investment vehicle has confirmed to Net Zero Investor it plans to double its battery energy storage portfolio in the US.
SUSI Partners, whose financial backers include Danish pension fund AkademikerPension, Holland’s PMT retirement scheme as well as the British International Investment (BBI), the development finance institution of the UK govt, runs the SUSI Energy Transition Fund.
Zurich-based spokesperson Dimitri Schubiger told this publication that the fund is adding ten new projects to its Texas battery energy storage portfolio (BESS), with a combined capacity of 100 MW.
Asked where the funding comes from, Schubiger disclosed that SUSI has received fresh capital allocations from a range of pension funds and insurance firms, “mostly from Europe and a couple from Australia.”
He declined to reveal any specific names or allocation sizes.
The projects are primarily located around the cities of Dallas and Houston, “thus complementing the existing assets, which are concentrated in Southern Texas, and creating a more sizeable and geographically diversified state-wide BESS portfolio,” he said.
Construction is expected to start next month, with commercial operations to begin at the end of next year or early 2025.
SUSI runs the portfolio in a joint venture with battery energy storage developer and operator SMT Energy, which operates one of the largest portfolios of battery energy storage facilities in the U.S.
According to recent reports from The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electric power to roughly 26 million Texas customers, representing about 90% of the state's electric load, Texas' electricity market in recent times experienced record-high load levels amid extreme summer temperatures and continuous population and economic growth.
"These trends are not expected to subside and will continue to drive elevated volatility," Schubiger said.
He stressed that "with intermittent renewable energy generation playing an increasingly important role in meeting energy demand in the state, and the ageing thermal generation fleet increasingly prone to production disruptions, battery energy storage has emerged as one of the most cost-effective dispatchable generation solutions in dealing with spiking power demand and electricity prices."
Founded in 2009, SUSI Partners is a Swiss fund manager that predominantly focuses on sustainable energy infrastructure investments. It has just under €1.9 billion in capital commitments, mostly from pension funds, insurance firms and other European asset owners.
The firm’s investment strategy evolves around private equity and credit opportunities across the energy transition spectrum, including clean energy generation, energy efficiency measures, and clean energy solutions.