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AMS chief Kennedy steps aside as company steps up AI to the ‘next level’

AMS’ Susan Kennedy speaking with employees in 2017. Image: AMS via Twitter.

Company founder, advisor to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and renewables industry veteran Susan Kennedy has stepped down as CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS), with chief product officer Seyed Madaeni appointed to take her place.

Kennedy, who will now be chairman of the board of directors, founded the company in 2014 and has been a director as well as chief exec since then.

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Incoming new CEO Seyed Madaeni, Ph.D has been at AMS since early 2018. Madaeni led the company’s design and development of its AI software platform, which allows batteries, wind, solar and other distributed resource assets to play into energy markets.

“I am incredibly proud to announce the appointment of Seyed Madaeni as chief executive of AMS. AMS was born on the front lines of a revolution in the energy industry, transforming from one-way grids designed for coal and gas, to high-speed transactional grids designed for solar, wind, batteries, and distributed energy,” Susan Kennedy said. 

Madaeni was formerly part of the team at Tesla that built the transactional platform its 129MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve battery system plays into and before that worked at SolarCity and at utility Pacific Gas & Electric on areas where software and the integration of distributed energy resources intersected. 

“Energy markets around the world are experiencing massive challenges integrating renewables, energy storage, and distributed generation into grid and market operations,” Madaeni said. 

“I am excited for the opportunity to take AMS to a new level.” 

E-S.n’s Quick Take: Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS)

Despite the name, AMS has become better known for its work using AI and software in combination with battery energy storage and demand response technologies for digitising, optimising, hybridising and decarbonising commercial and industrial buildings across the US, beginning in its home state. As well as allowing businesses to 'peak shave', significantly reducing electricity bills, along with rivals including Stem Inc, AMS uses customer-sited batteries to provide grid services and play into energy markets, becoming something of a pioneer of the 'energy storage-as-a-service' model. 

AMS gained something of a big vote of confidence from the market in 2016, when the company secured US$200 million of project finance from Macquarie Capital.

In March this year, the company reported reaching an “important milestone” as it reached 2GWh of grid services delivered from its virtual power plant (VPP) of connected buildings in California. Then, in April, reported that Switzerland-headquartered energy storage investment fund SUSI Partners is buying up Macquarie’s 50% stake in 60MW/340MWh of projects which AMS is designing, installing, commissioning and then also operating, located in the western LA Basin. More recently, in August, the company used its AI algorithms to help a 100MW wind farm in Australia trade power.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, is still an investor in the company. 

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