Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has purchased an undisclosed stake in fuel cell developer Intelligent Energy (IE) as the utility looks to extend its reach into the low-carbon distributed heat and generation sectors.
Neither company has revealed the number of shares purchased or at what price, but the two companies have been in partnership since 2008 via joint venture IECHP, to which both IE and SSE also committed further investment yesterday.
IECHP has been developing fuel cell combined heat and power (CHP) systems for the residential, commercial and light industrial markets in the UK and Ireland, funded by an initial £1.3m investment.
Both parties agreed to make a further series of investments once certain undisclosed milestones were reached. IE said that IECHP had now surpassed these requirements, triggering a further £2.7m of funding, which included a tranche from Scottish Enterprise.
Dr Mark Lawson-Statham, board member of IECHP, said the cash injection would allow the company to accelerate its expansion.
"The further investment from SSE and IEH serves to underscore the strong commitment of both companies to bring clean CHP technologies to the market," he said. "We are also delighted to be able to welcome Scottish Enterprise as a shareholder and look forward to playing a central role in the development of the hydrogen economy in Scotland."
Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE said both investments were in line with the company's policy of developing sustainable energy in conjunction with specialist partners, such as the technology-sharing agreement it signed with Mitsubishi earlier this year.
"This investment is further evidence of our support for new technology development through investment and strategic partnerships with leading players in the clean technology sector," he said.