Trafigura's Nala Renewables invests in Belgian power storage

LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Trafigura’s new renewables venture, Nala Renewables, has made its first investment of 30 million euros ($37 million) to develop one of Belgium’s largest battery energy storage systems, the firm said on Wednesday.

The storage system to service the country’s grid will be located at Trafigura-run Nyrstar’s zinc smelting facility in Balen. Construction is due to start in the first half of this year and once complete, the unit will be able to store 25 mega watts for over four hours.

“Weather-reliant renewables, such as wind and solar, generate energy intermittently. This needs to be combined with high-capacity energy storage,” Julien Rolland, head of power and renewables trading at Trafigura, said.

“Projects located on land associated with Nyrstar’s smelting operations are an early focus for Nala Renewables, with similar concepts being formulated for other assets, such as Puma Energy’s Puerto Rico facilities and the MATSA mine in southern Spain.”

Nala, a venture set up last year between Trafigura and IFM Investors, aims to build a renewable power portfolio of two gigawatts, or enough to power two million households, over the next five years.

$1 = 0.8106 euros Reporting by Julia Payne. Editing by Mark Potter