Total in $1.1b Push for Clean Energy

Total in $1.1b Push for Clean EnergyTotal in $1.1b Push for Clean Energy

Total SA agreed to buy French battery maker Saft Groupe SA in a €950 million ($1.1 billion) deal, ratcheting up investments in clean energy by one of the world’s largest oil companies.

Saft will become Total’s “spearhead in electricity storage”, Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive officer of the Courbevoie, France-based oil producer, said on Monday.

The purchase allows Total to speed up its expansion in renewables, which began in 2011 with its purchase of solar-panel maker SunPower Corp. The market for energy storage is growing as companies and governments seek to integrate intermittent generation from solar and wind farms into the grid and provide a more stable source of supply.

Total, which has pledged to invest $500 million a year in renewables, is among European oil and gas majors plowing funds into the industry as countries seek to meet growing energy demand with cleaner electricity and fuels.

Saft designs and makes nickel and lithium batteries for industries, including transportation and civil and military electronics.