30%

Lower Energy Bill

10-30% lower energy bill for businesses that use Stem’s AI-based software

1.2

Gigawatt-Hours

of power is operated or contracted by Stem

75

Jurisdictions

75+ permitting jurisdictions across 260+ cities


The Path to Drawdown: Energy Storage

On the path to electrify everything, the world needs more renewable sources of energy. But what’s also needed are energy storage systems and batteries. Because the two dominant sources of renewable energy - solar and wind - are intermittent (they only generate electricity when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing), their supply often don’t match their demand. 

The conventional way of supplying power when the demand for electricity peaks is for utility companies to fire up “peaker” plants. But most peakers run on natural gas and are highly polluting.

A wider adoption of utility-scale and distributed energy storage systems and batteries is the solution. Utility-scale energy storage is the use of technologies and practices to store energy on a large scale, often managed by utility, industrial and power companies. Distributed storage systems are smaller in scale and use standalone batteries and electric vehicles (EVs) to store energy. Distributed systems are usually managed at the level of residential and commercial buildings.

Neither of these solutions directly help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they both facilitate the development of more renewable energy sources and ultimately smooth the transition in the energy system. 

While Project Drawdown doesn’t model the growth of energy storage so as to avoid double-counting with renewable energy solutions, it’s clear that their production and adoption need to accelerate, and their cost needs to fall around the world will accelerate the shift to a zero-emission grid.

About

Stem, Inc. operates as an energy technology company in the United States. They offer energy storage solutions with Athena, an artificial intelligence powered analytics platform to optimize energy use by automatically switching between battery power, onsite generation, and grid power. It serves commercial and industrial enterprises, independent power producers, renewable project developers, utilities, and grid operators. The company is headquartered in Millbrae, California.

STEM's Role in Drawdown

Stem builds and operates the world’s largest digitally connected storage network and provides both front-of-meter and behind-the-meter storage projects for businesses, developers, and utilities. Using their artificial intelligence platform Athena, Stem gives their customers on-going software-enabled services to operate the energy systems for 10-20 years.

Athena analyzes real-time data from Stem’s storage systems to provide continuous monitoring, forecasting, optimization, and automated controls to Stem’s customers. Once customers install Stem’s storage systems, Athena helps optimize the operation of these batteries by automatically switching between battery power, on-site generation and grid power. On the Athena platform, customers can see how much the batteries are saving them and what the batteries are doing to achieve those savings.

Stem’s smart storage solution (p. 3) can help customers reduce their GHG emissions. Because the grid’s dirtiest generators run when demand and energy prices are highest, storage systems can charge when electricity is cheaper (and cleaner) and discharge when it’s more expensive (and dirtier). It also supports the grid’s transformation to renewable energy by increasing the capacity of total energy that can be stored.

STEM: What We Like

We'll update this section soon.

STEM: What We Want to See Improve

Disclose GHG Emissions


While we’re excited about Stem’s solutions to optimize energy storage systems for companies, we know very little about Stem’s own carbon footprint and sustainability efforts. We’d like the company to publish key sustainability metrics like direct and indirect GHG emissions (especially through the manufacturing and distribution of the batteries they provide), emissions avoided, and the sources of energy consumed. These metrics should be compiled in an annual sustainability report that can be easily accessed.

Set Emissions Reduction Targets


Once these metrics are disclosed, then it’s time for Stem to think through how they can reduce their emissions. They should set science-based targets that align with the global goal to stay under 1.5°C of global warming, and outline the practical steps they will take to achieve those reductions. Ultimately, we want to see Stem commit to becoming a zero-emission company by 2050.

Develop a Circular Economy Business Model


While their artificial intelligence-powered platform is Stem’s main selling point, they do deliver and install lithium-ion batteries and other hardware necessary for utility-scale energy storage operations. We urge Stem to develop processes to recycle or reuse these batteries at the end of their life. 

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