Grid Power Will Survive Clean Energy Challenge, Stem CEO Says

Utilities will continue to play a vital role in delivering power amid calls from clean-energy proponents including Al Gore that consumers turn away from grid-based power.

“The grid-defection piece is overblown,” John Carrington, chief executive officer of Stem Inc., said Wednesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York. “The model will change, but the utilities will always be there.”

Millbrae, California-based Stem produces batteries that store power from the grid for use when demand rises. It also sells software to manage those systems. Most customers lease the technology.

Demand for alternatives to traditional grid-based power is on the rise. Utilities in the U.S. Northeast stand to lose as much as half of residential sales by 2030 as customers install solar and battery-storage systems and generate their own power, according to a report by the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Stem this week received a $12 million investment led by Mitsui & Co. as part of a Series C round that may increase to $30 million, Carrington said.

The company closed a $27 million Series B round that put its total capital raise above $40 million, Carrington said in January.

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