Con Edison absorbs Johnson Controls’ battery management solutions

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Unlike many of the startups that comprise the battery storage industry, Johnson Controls is by no means small. In 2016 Johnson Controls was listed as the 242nd-largest company on the Fortune Global 500, with 120,000 employees in every continent except Antarctica.

And the company is no stranger to batteries, as it designs and manufactured roughly 1/3 of the world’s lead-acid batteries for internal combustion engine cars. But the real innovation in the world of energy storage may come from the control side of the business.

Over the last few years, Johnson Controls has developed a technologies for the control of stationary energy storage systems, which it says can seamlessly integrate with buildings to optimize the function of a battery system across several use cases to maximize value to an end customer. This means using algorithms to provide such services as peak shaving, frequency regulation, demand management and renewable energy integration – whichever is needed at the time.

On Monday, Consolidated Edison announced what it describes as a joint venture with Johnson Controls regarding this technology solution. Con Ed will be the majority owner of this joint venture, and employees of Johnson Controls energy storage group will work for Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses and the company will contribute its IP.

Additionally, Con Edison will become the exclusive provider of battery energy storage to customers of Johnson Controls, which will include both behind-the-meter and front-of-the-meter solutions.

Con Edison describes this as a “natural fit” for its renewable energy and energy management offerings. For Johnson Controls, greater market access appears to be the main benefit.

“We are proud of the success we have built with our energy storage business over the past five years and with this joint venture we are creating even more opportunity to take advantage of growth in both the behind-the-meter and front-of-meter market” said George Oliver, chairman and CEO of Johnson Controls.

The two companies have described this as a “transaction”, and Johnson Controls employed Guggenheim Securities as its financial advisor. However there is no mention of monetary compensation and federal regulators do not show any recent filings related to this deal by Con Edison.

This is the second major move by Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses in less than one month, following on the company’s acquisition of 943 MW of solar projects from Sempra Solar.