Stem, Inc., a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI)-driven energy storage services, and Copec, one of the largest energy companies in Central and South America, announced the development of South America’s first virtual power plant (VPP) as well as the completion of their first smart energy storage system in Chile. The companies will be working together with Chilquinta Energía S.A. (“Chilquinta”), a local energy supply service company.
In July 2020, Stem and Copec announced a partnership to bring Stem’s intelligent storage solutions to South America, marking the Company’s entrance into this region. The partnership recently completed its first project, a smart energy storage solution for a lubricant manufacturing plant owned by Copec in the Valparaíso Region of Chile.
In addition, Stem and Copec have partnered with Chilquinta to establish the first VPP, a network of decentralized behind-the-meter (BTM) power generating sites, in all of South America. For this project, Stem’s Athena® smart energy storage software has been customized to integrate utility and grid market data points that optimize energy storage assets in the Chilean market. This partnership also involves future collaboration to bring smart energy storage alongside mutual business activities in electric vehicle charging infrastructures and solar project developments.
Stem’s Athena allows this network of commercial and industrial (C&I) customer sites to deliver both resilience and backup power solutions by automatically aggregating and responding to spikes in electricity use and drawing on stored power to reduce electricity costs for customers. Athena also ensures continuous power and consistent operations to serve the utility’s real-time needs, demonstrating the ability to dispatch all the sites when power is needed on the grid. Stem combines this electricity usage and deployment information with data from renewable generation forecasting and monitoring so the utility can effortlessly call upon the stored electricity for added stability during peak demand times. Athena is continuously collecting electricity usage data, creating a virtuous cycle of learning and deep insights to better inform its AI-driven algorithm.
“The energy storage market in South America represents a significant growth opportunity for Stem and our partner Copec,” said John Carrington, Chief Executive Officer at Stem. “We are proud to have completed our first project under this partnership – positioning Copec as a smart grid participant while driving energy cost reduction and enhancing the sustainability profile of their manufacturing facilities. At the same time, our VPP is set to demonstrate tremendous value to utilities in South America that can leverage distributed energy storage systems to stabilize the grid, similar to what Stem’s Athena® smart energy storage software is doing in other regions today. I am excited about our future in South America and the benefits we will bring to businesses, utilities, and energy customers.”
“Copec is focused on driving innovation and sustainability across the energy and mobility segments,” added Mauricio de la Torre, New Energies Leader at Copec. “Through our partnership with Stem, we have begun to demonstrate the investment returns of smart energy storage and the tremendous potential for Copec to help Chile meet its ambitious climate goals.”
Chile is among the most favorable markets for solar energy with one of the highest solar irradiances and potential for solar generation in the world. Chile has announced in recent years that it will not build new coal-fired power plants and will align with the National Energy Policy 2050, an ambitious set of climate change and renewable energy efficiency goals, for which Chile targets 70% renewable energy electricity by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. After hosting the UN Climate Change Conference in 2019, the country leads South America in sustainability strategies. Chile is projected to have a combined opportunity for energy storage nearing 1 GWh over the next decade, based on market estimates from Copec and its subsidiary, Terpel.