Reaching Full Potential

By Brian Perusse, Vice President, AES Energy Storage

Posted on March 16, 2017

Our new blog, Full Potential, launched today. We debated the name for several weeks, even setting up a dedicated slack channel and looking to name generator sites like Wordoid. We came up with names such as Real & Reactive, The Nodes, Arrays These Days, and Open Circuit. Many of the names have dual meanings both inside and outside the power sector but miss the broader mission and importance of the work we are doing.

In the power sector, electric potential is voltage. Potential also refers to the concept of chemical potential energy stored in battery-based energy storage. But, most importantly, potential speaks to our broader goal of improving lives by unlocking the full potential of the electric grid.

While electricity is the fastest growing form of end user energy consumption and powers nearly 40% of everything we do, we need to work together to move us towards powering 100% of our energy needs with clean, abundant energy. Why? Because electricity is the gold standard for power efficiency, it will dramatically reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions across the entire energy sector, and will reduce the total cost of energy to the end customer.

In order to realize the full potential of the electric power system, we need to build a New Energy Network that is built on three pillars:

  1. Transform the grid with energy storage
  2. Accelerate renewables
  3. Electrify everything

Energy storage is the key to transforming the grid to enable the full integration of renewable energy and the electrification of both transportation and heating. However, a recent IHS Markit study found that the electricity grid in North America has storage equal to only around 20 minutes worth of demand, compared to days or even years worth of demand for some of society’s other critical networks.

With rising adoption and declining costs for energy storage, that is starting to change. But it is up to us to accelerate this transformation by working together, sharing best practices, and informing new markets about the benefits of energy storage.

When the AES Energy Storage group first started in 2007, there were only a few companies looking at energy storage and even fewer conferences. The first ESA conference I attended in May of 2009 was located in the basement of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington DC, and had only 200 attendees. In comparison, this year's ESA conference is expected to draw over 2,000 attendees.

For the next few years the market grew slowly, which enabled our team to work closely with everyone interested in learning about energy storage and explain how it could fit in their electric system.

Our team remains focused on sharing our experiences and lessons learned with regulators, utilities, developers, banks, insurance companies, investors, suppliers, NGO’s, local communities, and politicians. We have integrated energy storage into twelve different power markets across six countries and continue to work with both existing and new markets to provide insights and lessons learned from deploying the largest global fleet of energy storage projects.

Over the past two years, we have spoken at more than 150 events and conferences around the globe, testified at both the federal and state level in dozens of markets, and have served as board members for the Energy Storage Association (ESA), California Energy Storage Association (CESA), and the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), among others.

As the market opportunity expands exponentially, so does the need to reach an even broader and more diverse audience. With The Full Potential blog, we will strive to offer valuable real-world insights to people around the globe, stemming from our experience entering new markets, from operating our own energy storage projects, and from the broader industry learnings and trends.

Our vision of the new energy network is inclusive, collaborative, and interconnected. We hope this blog becomes a forum for inspiration and real insights that will propel us towards a world of clean, abundant energy for everyone.

Please subscribe if you haven’t already. If you have an idea for a blog post that you would like to see or would like to contribute a guest post, please let us know.

Thank you for being part of the transformation.