Photo credit: Randy Hampton / Department of Energy
SoftBank-backed SB Energy is teaming up with software company Stem to apply artificial intelligence to the management of utility-scale solar and energy storage projects.
The pair’s two-part agreement is the largest of its kind, the companies said in a Thursday announcement. It includes the joint development and deployment of DER management technology — SB Energy’s infrastructure assets expertise paired with Stem’s tech development capabilities.
The partnership will also support the development of SB’s energy storage project pipeline, which comprises some 10 gigawatt hours of projects across the United States over the next five years, including in CAISO and ERCOT.
Central to the partnership is the end goal of flexible energy supply contracts, said Stem CEO John Carrington. The combined capabilities will enable SB Energy to make their end offtake contracts “more flexible with lower carbon intensity,” Carrington said.
“Both companies can ensure that any technology tools will be rapidly deployed into real projects, minimizing risk,” he added.
In addition to its storage projects, SB Energy currently operates four solar projects in the U.S. That number is poised to grow, as the company said it has 5 gigawatts of solar projects in the works.
Adding an AI layer to SB’s renewables projects will help the company provide solutions to energy buyers looking to decarbonize their operations, the partners said, making “dispatchable renewable energy” available at scale.
“We’re especially excited that this alliance will further accelerate the deployment of lithium ion and long duration storage in our portfolio and our ability to provide cutting-edge and cost-effective energy power structures to our customers,” said SB Energy co-CEO Rich Hossfeld.
Timing is ripe to focus on flexible supply agreements, Carrington said, because of the “major buildout” in energy storage assets in liberalized power markets. That’s due in part to a boost from the IRA, he said, as well as the standalone storage tax credit.
The announcement comes on the heels of an International Energy Agency report highlighting the global transmission bottleneck, and a flurry of federal investment in the nation’s power grid that has included $3.46 billion in funding for grid resiliency projects.