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Billionaire Oil Trading Veteran Bets Big On Batteries

Billionaire Alex Beard, who retired as head of worldwide oil operations at commodities and mining giant Glencore two years ago, has set his sights on the battery storage market in the UK as he believes storage will be the key to expanding renewables in the energy transition.

Beard, whose net worth is $1.8 billion mostly thanks to the 2-percent stake he still holds in Glencore, worked at the commodity and mining giant between 1995 and 2019. Prior to that, he was an oil trader at BP for five years.

Now the former executive who used to oversee the trading of around 7 percent of the world's oil at the Glencore trading team believes that the energy transition and battery storage specifically will lead the world's energy in the next decades.

"I have time for a second career in energy markets. It won't be oil and gas but it will be the transition away from carbon that will be most relevant for the next 25 years," Beard told Reuters in an interview—his first since he left Glencore in 2019.

According to Beard, the current energy crisis in Europe and the UK is a sign of things to come, and battery storage can provide stability when the renewable input into the grid is unstable.

Beard now has an investment fund, Adaptogen Capital, which plans to build battery storage of at least 500 megawatts (MW) in the United Kingdom, the executive told Reuters. The storage project will use lithium-ion battery technology, he noted.

"We are focused on investment opportunities in new energy storage asset classes, as well as those from distributed energy and demand side response markets," Adaptogen Capital says on its website.

Beard is also co-founder of Energy Transition Partners B.V., a special purpose acquisition company, which was listed in Amsterdam in July and which targets a partnership with a business or company operating in the energy transition sector that is headquartered or operating in the European Economic Area, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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