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UK battery storage firm Zenobe lands $1B funding, plans to electrify over 4,000 EVs by 2026

Zenobe funding
Picture credits: Zenobe

As the UK government aims to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2035, the market for battery-operated automobiles is increasing. So is the investment in battery tech startups. Working on the same lines, a well-known EV fleet and battery storage specialist from the country, Zenobē has secured an investment of £600 million from KKR, a leading global investment firm. In addition, another £270 million of equity has been invested by existing shareholder Infracapital. 

Following the same, KKR and Infracapital will become joint majority shareholders in Zenobē. Jera and TEPCO Power Grid will remain as minority, strategic shareholders.

Earlier this year, Zenobē secured £235 million in debt to fund grid-scale, transmission-connected battery storage assets in Scotland. In February 2022, Zenobē secured 241 million to accelerate the EV fleet sector’s expansion radically.

Plans to support 4,000 EVs 

In addition to the equity investment, the valuable expertise and extensive global network contributed by KKR will enhance Infracapital’s existing foothold in Europe. This partnership will prove pivotal in bolstering Zenobē’s growth endeavors across the UK, North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The infusion of capital will drive the expansion of the company’s fleet electrification and grid-scale battery storage operations, expediting the shift towards decarbonising fleet transportation and promoting the adoption of renewable energy sources.

Funding from the equity investment will significantly expand the number of electric vehicles and charging equipment supported by the company. By 2026, Zenobē aims to support 4,000 electric buses, trucks and commercial vehicles on the road.

Expansion plans ahead 

This new infusion of equity investment will empower the company to expedite its expansion plans, involving the establishment of two new battery storage facilities in Scotland, specifically at Kilmarnock South and Eccles. Additionally, it will facilitate the expansion of the company’s existing battery storage asset at Blackhillock, enhancing its capacity.

These developments are pivotal in supporting the integration of wind power resources into the grid and align with Zenobē’s ambitious goal of commissioning approximately 1.2GW of storage capacity in the United Kingdom by 2026. Furthermore, this investment will bolster the company’s aspirations to cultivate an additional 2.5GW of battery energy storage assets in North America and Australia by 2030.

Nicholas Beatty, Co-founder and Director of Zenobē, said: “Securing substantial further equity is a significant vote of confidence in our business, its achievements to date and future aims. KKR provides Zenobē with a leading international strategic partner to support our expansion plans into North America, Europe and Australasia and other markets. It supports our ability to raise further debt funding for these plans. It is also an acknowledgement that boosting battery storage and clean transport is just common sense to help us reach net zero.”

Alberto Signori, Partner, European Infrastructure at KKR, said: “This is a rare opportunity to support a clear leader in transport decarbonisation and battery storage, two sectors which are critical in driving the transition to a net zero world. We believe Zenobē will continue to benefit from strong secular tail winds including stricter emission regulation in urban and regional areas, and the greater use of low carbon generation in the energy mix driving a need for grid balancing solutions. We see significant growth opportunities within Zenobē’s existing customer base, as well as huge potential in new markets globally. We are excited to bring our operational expertise within KKR’s global platform to actively support the company in continuing to further build a market leading and climate critical business.” 

Andy Matthews, Head of Greenfield at Infracapital, added: “Since our initial investment in 2020, Infracapital has supported Zenobē’s significant innovation and expansion as it has gone from strength to strength in both the battery storage and transportation sectors. We are delighted to announce our further investment into the business, and to embark on this exciting journey alongside KKR as joint shareholders in Zenobē. This strategic partnership marks a significant milestone for the business and fulfils our confidence in its ability to continue to play a leading role in sustainable solutions. We look forward to continuing to contribute our expertise and resources to support Zenobē’s further success on a global scale, whilst creating long-term value for our investors.”

Largest operator of battery storage in the UK

Founded in 2017 by James Basden, Nicholas Beatty, and Steven Meersman, Zenobē is the largest independent owner and operator of battery storage in the UK. Serving major operators such as National Express, Stagecoach and Transit Systems, Zenobē has established itself as a reliable industry partner in making battery and fleet electrification services a reality.

Having around 25% market share in the UK EV bus sector, and more than 1,000 electric vehicles contracted globally, it claims to be the world’s largest owner and operator of EV buses.

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