The Qatar Investment Authority is investing $125 million in energy storage systems integrator and energy management technology developer, Fluence, to value the company at over $ 1 billion.
The joint venture between the American independent power producer AES Corp. and the German industrial conglomerate Siemens, according to Marek Wolek, Vice President for Strategy and Partnerships at Fluence, was already valued at $ 900 million prior to the transaction.
With the new money, Fluence will seek to develop and acquire software and services that will expand the company’s offering to its core customers at utility companies and independent energy project developers, Wolek said.
And it might not be long before the company seeks additional liquidity in the public markets, Wolek said. He noted that QIA is already supporting the battery company QuantumScape, which was acquired by a special purpose vehicle in late November and whose shares have grown rapidly since then.
After the QIA investment, AES and Siemens will remain majority shareholders. Everyone will own a 44% stake in the company after the investment.
“We believe that the global problem of climate change can only be solved if the combined skills of technologists and investors from around the world are used,” said Manuel Perez Dubuc, CEO of Fluence, in a statement.
He then quoted,
“We see energy storage as the linchpin of a decarbonised network. By adding QIA to our international shareholder base, Fluence can innovate even faster and address the enormous global market for battery-based energy storage on a large scale.”
As one of six founding members of the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Initiative, QIA is a multi-billion dollar investment vehicle with significant capital reserves to continue its support for climate-tech companies like Fluence.
According to Wolek, Fluence has already provided around five gigawatts of energy storage and management systems to a large number of customers.
And while Wolek said Fluence sees itself and its energy storage business as a key component of the global decarbonization that must take place to combat climate change, electrical storage isn’t the only technology that is needed.
“It’s difficult to look at the energy market and a technology and say that one technology will solve everything,” said Wolek.
Rather, the company’s job is to ensure that the battery technology that Fluence uses can be integrated with the other technologies required to provide the energy they need for industry and society. “We absolutely want to be the experts for battery-based storage,” said Wolek. “At the same time, we are investing a lot in the digital side in order to expand our shipping capacities beyond storage.”
That could mean teaming up with other energy providers (such as hydrogen fuel project developers) in the future, he said.
We want to master the energy piece on the battery side,” said Wolek about the company’s ultimate goal.
This goal puts the company on a kind of collision course with the energy business being built by Elon Musk’s Tesla.
The billion dollar valuation that Fluence currently has and the $ 36.6 billion market cap that QuantumScape has, in some ways explains why Tesla is viewed as a company valued at over $ 650 billion can.