Utilities and Grid Resilience Solutions for the Energy TransitionWednesday, March 22nd 2023
On the eve of the ARPA-E summit, industry experts gathered in the nation’s capital at Dynamo’s Utilities and Grid Resilience Solutions for the Energy Transition event. This timely event on the reliability and security of the grid marked the second ever Dynamo event in our Washington, D.C. hub, with more on the horizon.
Kristin Barbato, Co-Founder & President at Dynamo Energy Hub, kicked off the event by welcoming guests and our incredible speakers, “Without the integration of a portfolio of innovative solutions on the grid, customers of all types will be limited in their ability to meet their goals for the energy transition.” Kristin then turned the mic over to Yayoi Sekine, Head of Energy Storage Research at BloombergNEF for her feature presentation.
Yayoi’s presentation, The Energy Transition: Hardwired Into US Growth, focused on important highlights from BloombergNEF’s recent Sustainable Energy Factbook and the modernized infrastructure necessary for the acceleration of clean energy solutions. The annual factbook, which provides valuable year-to-year data on the American energy landscape, served as an ideal foundation for discussion. Yayoi began by discussing how there has been record renewable generation additions or capacity additions over the last two years. In the context of the last 23 years in the United States, Yayoi commented on how we are seeing a continuous decade long trend of capacity additions where renewables are consistently being added more in gigawatt terms compared to gas.
Throughout her presentation, she addressed the positive trends occurring in the energy transition such as global private investments at an all-time high, rising over $1 trillion. Renewable energy also broke records, meeting 13% of total energy demand. Shifting towards the topic of the panel, Yayoi closed out her presentation by concluding that the United States need to triple their $60 billion grid investments in order to meet the net zero goal.
The panel began with each speaker introducing themselves and explaining how their company relates to utility and grid resilience. From large corporates to smaller cleantechs to everything in between, the utility sector’s current opportunities involve organizations of all kinds. As Deia Bayoumi, Vice President at Bloom Energy said, “Clean energy is a must have, a need now, not a want or advancement anymore.”
Kristin turned back the BNEF Factbook, pulling out impressive statistics that will impact future grid operations. The panelists discussed the positionality of the United States in the current energy transition as the largest energy storage market in the world and growing.
Nabil Hitti, Vice President, Head of Offshore Wind, at National Grid emphasized the need for speed to advance the implementation of current legislation (IIJA and IRA). Nabil discussed how we need to take advantage of these investments right now and bring them to consumers with the support of the government. Caleb Tristan, CEO at CO-Z reiterated that we are not moving fast enough given the amount of new funding and investments.
Kristin opened the discussion to grid edge solutions, turning to Deia Bayoumi, Vice President at Bloom Energy. Deia spoke of how COVID brought blue skies in areas for the first time in many years, calling attention to decarbonization. “It will take a village. It’s not solar, it’s not wind, it’s not nuclear. It’s all together,” Deia stated.
Lopa Parikh, Head of Electricity Policy, at Ørsted touched on how a key component of grid resilience is recognizing the different attributes that all the different resources provide to the gird. All renewable resources and traditional resources are all able to provide the attributes needed to provide a resilient and reliable. The problem lies in the market rules and operational changes that are not being made in a manner that recognizes the capabilities of all the different resources.
Caleb then shed light on a significant but often unspoken topic, how disadvantaged communities will feel the pains of the grid more than anyone. Caleb’s cleantech, CO-Z, creates solutions for people who do not own their homes since their energy storage is ‘plug and play’ and does not need to be installed anywhere. This is just one of many solutions that can touch the grid edge that are truly experiencing the detriments.
Kristin concluded the panel with a simple, but significant, question. What two words do you think of when you consider the future of the grid in the energy transition?
Bayoumi: Power of Connections
Hitti: Energy Abundance
Parikh: Opportunities & Challenges
Tristan: Net Zero
The speakers finished the discussion with an informative and engaging Q&A session before the cocktail reception which saw Dynamo members come together to discuss the night’s topics, catch up, and, as always, connect with one another. We’re grateful for the insights of our experienced panelists and presenters, and for the Dynamo community. The future of grid resilience has yet to be determined, but no matter what lies ahead, Dynamo and its members will be at the forefront of progress.
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