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UMass Lowell Event explores future of energy storage

UMass Lowell

 Leaders from business, education, government and research will gather next week to discuss the state of energy storage in Massachusetts.

“The Role of Energy Storage in Our Carbon-Free Future” will be presented by UMass Lowell and the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Foundation on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell.

The event, which is open to the public, will feature discussions on the emerging field with experts, researchers and other stakeholders. The program, which is $30 per person, also includes breakfast. Registration information is available at

The program will also look at the new AIM Foundation study on energy storage, which looks at the needs created by the thousands of megawatts of new, renewable energy sources expected in the Commonwealth in the next decade.

Energy storage, at grid scale “is often described as a game-changer because of its potential to revolutionize the design and operation of electrical grids while enhancing the viability of renewable energy-generation systems,” the report states. The study also found that while the current grid system is able to handle fluctuations in energy supply, the growth of energy from varying sources – including wind and solar – will create challenges for grid resilience and energy security, “underlining the critical need for widespread utilization of grid-scale energy storage.”

“Renewables are on the cusp of transforming how society gets and uses electricity. Twenty years from now, our energy landscape will look totally different and that transformation relies heavily on achieving cost-effective and resilient energy storage,” said UMass Lowell Prof. Christopher Niezrecki, one of the co-authors of the study and the director of the university’s Center for Wind Energy.

Speakers at the event will include Niezrecki, along with fellow co-authors and faculty researchers: Ertan Agar and Hunter Mack of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aaron Smith-Walter of Political Science.

“Energy storage is a cornerstone of the ongoing transition to renewable energy that will affect virtually all Massachusetts businesses. Efficient operation of the electricity grid will ensure reliability and price stability on the electric bills of both employers and homeowners,” said Robert Rio, AIM senior vice president of government affairs, who will be among the participants in a panel discussion of stakeholders from various areas of the energy field.

The panel is also scheduled to include state Rep. Tom Golden, chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy; Commissioner of Energy Resources Judith Judson; and Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert. Peter Howe, senior adviser with Denterlein, will moderate the panel.
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