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Terra One wants to shake up the storage market

Terra One wants to shake up the storage market

23.2.23, 12:00

Terra One aims to transform the German energy market with innovative storage solutions and a AI-based trading software. The aim is to launch the first plants this year and capture a significant market share in the long term.

Berlin (energate) - The Berlin-based storage start-up Terra One has ambitious goals and wants to cover 10 to 15 per cent of the German market in the long term. The first systems are due to be installed this year. The founding team is setting a good pace with this; the company has only been in existence since 2022. Behind Terra One are Tony Schumacher and Thomas Antonioli, both of whom have a wealth of start-up experience in other areas, such as IT.

The idea for Terra One was born when Schumacher developed a grid monitoring application for an energy supplier. "It became clear how strained the grid is on days with high renewable feed-in," reports co-founder and CFO Thomas Antonioli in an interview with energate at the start-up's headquarters in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Storing instead of curtailing

Neither of them liked the idea of solar or wind energy systems simply being curtailed in such situations. It makes more sense to store the electricity in batteries and release it again when the renewable feed-in decreases. "From our point of view, it is clear that the energy transition can only be successful if we develop storage systems," said Antonioli. It is precisely these that the company now wants to bring to the market on a large scale.

Terra One is focussing on container-based lithium-ion storage solutions. The company buys the components for this on the market and has them assembled by partner companies. The capacity is upwards of 10 MW. The market situation is favourable: There is an oversupply of storage systems on the global market, partly because demand for electric cars is weakening somewhat. Manufacturers are therefore switching to the stationary market. "There are minor bottlenecks when it comes to components and engineering services for the high-voltage sector," continued Antonioli.

Software controls storage marketing

Terra One wants to earn money by selling stored electricity at the right time. "Our business model is to operate and market the systems, like a kind of independent power producer for batteries," explained Antonioli. At the heart of this is the self-developed, AI-based trading software that decides in which market, i.e. day-ahead, spot market or balancing energy, at what time and at what price a storage system is marketed. "Our application is fed with millions of data from the electricity exchange, both successful trades and offers." Using the software saves the company the need for a trading desk and enables it to manage many storage facilities in parallel in the future.

Terra One is financing the launch with capital from investors. Around thirty engineers, software developers, analysts and energy market experts now work for the company. Terra One has secured sites throughout Germany where the storage facilities are to be built and has submitted grid connection applications. According to Antonioli, approvals are now coming in on a weekly basis. The first projects should be ready this year.

More speed in the market

The growth prospects are good. According to a Fraunhofer study, the demand for storage in Germany will rise to 135 GWh by 2030 - in parallel with the expansion of renewables. In order to meet this demand, the expansion of storage facilities must be much faster than before. One obstacle is the authorisation process. The German government wants to remove these and other hurdles with its storage strategy . Antonioli is therefore optimistic about the future. "We are setting ourselves ambitious targets and want to cover 10 to 15 per cent of the storage market in Germany in the long term," he explained.

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