Total is now the first oil supermajor to make a billion-dollar bet on energy storage, buying Saft. Much integration work remains, particularly with Total’s SunPower solar investment, but as this study shows, Total’s great move leaves its competitors with few options to respond: Unlike other sprawling suppliers, Saft is uniquely focused on batteries, making it a relatively cheap and tidy acquisition. It is Total’s compatriot too, which can help speed integration. Also, Saft already enjoys a strong position in the nascent grid storage space. How can Total’s competitors respond? As Darwinism looms for the future of power, other oil supermajors looking to evolve must choose among more expensive, broader battery players. But they should still act, as waiting longer and doing nothing would be an even worse outcome: The worthwhile battery companies continue to gain value and build momentum with each passing day, as are other opportunities toward a distributed generation future.
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