The 21st Century Electricity Challenge

March 4, 2015

Washington, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), held a hearing on March 4, 2015, titled “The 21st Century Electricity Challenge: Ensuring a Secure, Reliable and Modern Electricity System.” A strong electricity system is critical to our economic and national security, and today’s hearing focused on efforts to modernize the nation’s electric grid to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

“Alevo believes that energy storage will play a crucial role in ensuring a secure, reliable, and modern electricity system.” Is how Executive Vice President of Alevo Energy, Inc., Christopher Christiansen opened his testimony for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Energy and Power Subcommittee. Christiansen continued to explain how Alevo and Energy Storage technologies will change the way our electric grid works. You can read the entirety of Christiansen’s testimony at the bottom of this page.

Photo Credit: House Committee on Energy and Commerce

(From left to right) Chairmand and CEO of C3 Energy, Tom Siebel; Founder and President at DEKA Research & Development Corporation, Dean Kamen; President of Alstom Grid, Inc., Michael Atkinson, P.E.; Executive Vice President of Alevo Energy, Inc., Christopher Christiansen; General Manager at Lakeland Electric, Joel Ivy; CEO at Enphase Energy, Paul Nahi; and CEO at Gridco Systems, Naimish Patel Photo Credit: House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Christansen along with a panel of 6 others were present for this hearing.  According to the Energy & Commerce Committee Website, The Energy and Power subcommittee is spearheading efforts to embrace a true ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, the Energy and Power Subcommittee has worked to expand access to American energy supplies and ease the burden of government regulations that drive up the price of gasoline and electricity and destroy jobs. Affordable energy is essential to a strong economy, and the work of the subcommittee has focused on eliminating government barriers to both.

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Mr. Christiansen’s complete speech can be found below:

Testimony Before United State House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power

by Christopher Christiansen – Executive Vice President, Alevo Energy

Chairman Whitfield, Ranking Member Rush, and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today on behalf of Alevo, Inc.. You will hear from me today how Alevo believes that energy storage will play a crucial role in ensuring a Secure, Reliable, and Modern Electricity System. I will also discuss how federal policymakers can help to accomplish this goal by reducing regulatory barriers to the deployment of energy storage to benefit electricity ratepayers and consumers.

My name is Christopher Christiansen and I am a co-founder of Alevo and serve as the Executive Vice President of Alevo Energy. I am responsible for all daily energy division activities, including production design, business development and sales strategies. I am also overseeing the development of over 200 megawatts of operating storage projects in the next 12 months.

Alevo is a leading provider of energy storage systems designed to deliver grid-scale electricity on demand. Alevo couples grid analytics with our innovative battery technology, the Alevo GridBanks, which features a non-flammable, long life inorganic battery that enables a new source-agnostic architecture for electrical grids that reduce waste, greenhouse gases, create efficiencies and lower costs for the world’s energy producers and their consumers. Our mission is to maximize the value, availability, usability and cleanliness of electricity to better serve mankind and the environment.

Alevo’s manufacturing plant is located in a former cigarette factory in Concord, North Carolina, in the district of Congressman Hudson. We are on track to employ 500 people in 2015 and 2500 in 2016. Alevo is set up for significant growth and our site in North Carolina can at full capacity produce 16 GWh with employees exceeding 5000. Within the next twelve months, we will be manufacturing and commissioning more than 200 megawatts of energy storage batteries. Alevo is building a vertically integrated manufacturing and deployment organization, creating a global energy storage business to work with the world’s largest energy companies.

The electric grid is the only system of production that has not had a way to store its product efficiently. Energy storage changes that equation, allowing us to store that electric production and then use it when we need it, where we need, and at the best price.

Energy storage technologies, like the battery Alevo is manufacturing, will change the way our electric grid works–to enable greater efficiency of our existing generation fleet, by optimizing heat-rates, reduce ramping, to allow for increased resilience and reliability of the system, and to lower the cost of electricity for every consumer. Additionally, the increased efficiency provided by storage lowers emissions and water usage, two important environmental benefits realized without adding cost to rate payers.

According to market research firm IHS, energy storage growth will “explode” from .34 gigawatts in 2012-2013 to 6 gigawatts by 2017 and over 40 gigawatts by 2022. To put this in perspective, 40 gigawatts is equivalent to 40 new coal or gas fired power plants and provides enough electricity to power more than 32 million homes for 1 hour. This explosion will create jobs in manufacturing, as with Alevo, right here in the U.S., allowing us to put our innovation to use to the benefit of the electric grid and consumers.

As the theme of this hearing suggests, energy storage technologies like Alevo’s GridBank will enable a secure, reliable and modern electric grid. The 21st century grid will be exposed to increased generation from variable sources and increased fluctuations in load. States hit by Hurricane Sandy, like New Jersey and New York, are already building these technologies into their resilience plans to ensure that emergency services are kept functional during catastrophic events. Even during ordinary power blips or outages, energy storage can help a system and its consumers ride through those events seamlessly. Southern California Edison recently issued a series of awards to accommodate local capacity requirements for their electric customers. They were required to consider 50 megawatts of energy storage in the mix; instead, they awarded 260 megawatts of energy storage since it was competitive and provided the flexibility the utility needed for the system. As utilities and system operators consider their needs both now and in the future, and with the right policies in place, more and more energy storage will be deployed, decreasing the perceived risk inherent in new technologies, and reducing the cost of those technologies through increased scale. Alevo is positioned to drive down those costs even further with the manufacturing of hundreds of megawatts of energy storage capacity in the first year alone.

One key policy that this Committee can change is to reduce regulatory barriers for energy storage facilities, including exempting them from federal and state regulations, in the same way those barriers are currently reduced for qualifying cogeneration facilities. Congress could also ask FERC to evaluate the value generated by energy storage, and ensure that FERC’s current policies recognize and reward those values.

I look forward to addressing any questions the Committee has about Alevo and our innovation or about energy storage technologies more generally. Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.



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