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Stem Inc dispatched over 500MWh energy during North American heat waves in June

Image: Stem Inc / CleanCapital.

Stem Inc said that its portfolio of aggregated battery energy storage systems was called into action to help balance electricity networks across four different states and provinces in the US and Canada during heat waves in June.

The company specialises in “artificial intelligence-driven energy storage,” largely deploying battery systems for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers which help them reduce their usage of electricity from the grid at times of peak demand and therefore reducing their energy costs.

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At the same time, those systems are enrolled in grid services and demand response programmes which help utility companies and transmission and distribution (T&D) organisations to keep their networks stable. Key to Stem Inc’s ability to do this is its software platform, Athena, which enables the aggregation of the capabilities of hundreds of systems in different locations.

With large swathes of the Pacific North-Western US and Canada affected by heat waves — which are still ongoing in many cases — Stem inc said that its portfolio of more than 500MWh of battery capacity enrolled in those grid services and demand response programmes was called into action by 10 utility programmes to respond to nearly 4,000 separate site events, calling on assets at over 400 Stem Inc customer sites.

California-headquartered Stem Inc noted that this included dispatch during its home state’s major heat wave in mid-June, as grid operator CAISO called on them as the Extreme Heat Event and Flex Alerts were activated through a programme initiated by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Stem Inc said customer sites in New York, Ontario and Massachusetts also responded to different events in their respective jurisdictions.

California has been proactive in encouraging the deployment of battery storage resources to help its grid cope with peak demand events, not just heat waves but also daily peaks in demand. The state has a high share of solar PV generation and when that starts to tail off each evening, a growing number of large-scale battery storage systems go into action.

While much attention has been paid to the fleet of four-hour, grid-scale front-of-meter batteries in the CAISO region, there are also growing numbers of aggregated behind-the-meter resources like Stem’s. A few weeks ago reported that Leap, a provider of a platform which pairs available energy capacity from a wide range of distributed energy resources (DERs) equipment from batteries to smart thermostats, with the needs of utilities, is putting 288MW of flexible power onto California’s grid this summer. Stem Inc is one of its partners. There are also providers of virtual power plants (VPPs) using residential energy storage systems putting some of that aggregated capacity into the hands of utilities like Swell Energy and Sunrun in the state.

The 500MWh represents just under half of the total of about 1.1GWh Stem Inc now claims to operate from 950 battery storage systems, including some solar-plus-storage front-of-the-meter sites in Massachusetts. Earlier this year Stem Inc got a listing on the New York Stock Exchange through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Stem has said that it is targeting reaching profitability within the next couple of years.

In late June, the company signed an agreement to form a partnership with renewable energy investment group CleanCapital to develop and finance C&I behind-the-meter storage and solar-plus-storage front-of-meter projects of 30MW each or less across the US.

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