For the first time last week, an energy storage provider participated in California’s real-time energy markets. Millbrae, California-based Stem announced on September 3 that it had successfully bid into the California Independent System Operator (CAL-ISO) real-time market using aggregated customer storage systems – and can now automatically dispatch stored power to enhance grid reliability.
The action came under Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E’s) Supply-Side Pilot (SSP), a project that enables customer-sited resources to participate in the CAL-ISO wholesale markets as demand response.
“Wholesale electricity market participation is a new and compelling revenue stream that enables businesses to transform energy from a cost center into a profit center,” said Stem CEO John Carrington, adding, “The ability to leverage customer-sited storage for multiple applications is the foundation for unlocking the full potential of energy storage for both customers and the grid. Once in place, these capabilities are highly replicable across other markets [nationwide] and around the world.”
Stem’s intelligent energy storage systems are installed in the buildings of customers – for example, at Adobe Systems’ San Francisco campus – to automatically decrease energy costs and create a revenue stream, storing energy when costs are low; and deploying, when high. Stem sets its price target and then its predictive software automatically accepts market bids and dispatches available power to the grid.
Stem collected extensive data during successful day-ahead bidding at six customer sites for more than a year to enhance forecasting and refine automation. Accurately forecasting customer energy use is critical to ensure systems can be used both for decreasing energy costs at the customer site as well as participating in energy markets.
Stem is funded by a consortium of investors – among them, Angeleno Group, Constellation New Energy, GE Ventures, Iberdrola, Mitsui & Co., RWE Supply & Trading, and Total Energy Ventures.