Jordan A. Davis

Dynapower President Adam Knudsen appeared before both the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development and the House Committee on Energy & Technology last Thursday to support Bill H. 676—which aims to make Vermont a leader in clean grid optimization, create jobs and help the state meet its renewable energy and climate emission goals. 

Vermont can be a leader in both how our energy is managed and in how we motivate and incentivize job creation. Very few times in modern history have we seen the opportunity to have this level of impact.” — Adam Knudsen, Dynapower President 

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Mr. Knudsen opened by presenting an overview Dynapower’s four business sectors with a focus on its fast-growing energy storage segment. 

“We got started about 12 years ago in energy storage and we have become a leader in that space competing with some of the largest organizations in the world,” he explained. “We provide the technology that manages the flow of energy from the grid to storage and back. You can think about energy storage as being able to park energy anywhere you want around the grid and then reinject it to the grid at the time it’s most impactful.”

Mr. Knudsen cited a Bloomberg graph on energy storage’s predicted growth (shown below) to bolster his support of H. 676. 

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“I think it’s very important for us to have a ‘today’ approach with a vision for tomorrow,” he said. “In the energy storage market, the use cases are dynamically changing—meaning that when you deploy energy storage today, you’re not just deploying it for current applications such as energy arbitrage but considering other future use cases that may be monetized.”

Speaking about the ever-growing applications of energy storage, Mr. Knudsen highlighted the opportunity that Vermont might capture by taking action to secure its place in an industry that is rapidly expanding and growing at an unprecedented rate. 

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“The cool thing is that there’s a lot of companies in Vermont that have technical capabilities and talent to develop and support energy storage. It’s almost mind-boggling,” Mr. Knudsen exclaimed.

“If we can act to support those organizations to continue to invest and also use the services they provide to help change Vermont’s energy signature, we can be a leader in both how our energy is managed and in how we motivate and incentivize job creation. Very few times in modern history have we seen the opportunity to have this level of impact.” 

When asked about combining solar generation with energy storage, Mr. Knudsen commented that the pairing provides a complementary service to the grid by enhancing the penetration of renewables and increasing the resiliency of the grid. 

He added that Dynapower’s collaboration with SMA to implement DC coupled energy storage systems with utility scale solar installations was a perfect example of this synergy. 

Regarding the Bill itself, Mr. Knudsen said he doesn’t view it as a single solution per say, but rather, as a hybrid approach that incentivizes clean grid job growth and energy storage deployment in Vermont.  

“You’re not talking to just an organization that wants to do something,” he pointed out. “We have deployed over 500 megawatts of energy storage in the United States and around the world.”

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Mr. Knudsen then reiterated how fostered growth and support within the clean grid optimization sector can fuel Vermont’s economy and reputation as a leader in the clean energy market. 

“New York and Massachusetts have got some heft in the funding options that maybe Vermont doesn’t have at that scale so let’s be a little more innovative,” he said.

“We can make decisions in this room and on the collective hill and move forward where some of the larger states don’t have that flexibility. I’m a firm believer that if you can get young professionals to grow roots in Vermont for a few years, they’ll fall in love and you’ll have them here for a longtime.”

When asked about Dynapower’s own stake in Vermont affairs and the support of its economy, Mr. Knudsen revealed that roughly one third of engineers employed by Dynapower are graduates from the University of Vermont.  That said, Mr. Knudsen urged that much more must be accomplished from a state level to attract talent to build roots in Vermont. 

“Personally, I believe Vermont can be a leader in the way it supports and fosters the entire clean energy industry,” he said. “And we do that by leveraging Vermont ingenuity. Vermont can use its talent and capabilities for energy storage effectively so that engineers and investors that want to be in the clean energy space will think of Vermont as a home.” 

Mr. Knudsen summed up Dynapower’s support of the Bill solidly when he was asked exactly how Bill H. 676 would help his company and others in the clean energy space.

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“What I would like to see is treating energy storage differently on the property tax side since it’s an asset that contributes to clean grid optimization in Vermont,” he said. “And if we can figure out a way for some incentives included in the bill to facilitate the growth of clean energy start-ups in Vermont, it will be real hard for them to look you in the eye and say, ‘We’re going somewhere else.’ You’re a fundamental lynch pin in helping them succeed through that challenging startup phase.” 

For more information on H. 676 and its current status at the State House, go here