Energy Storage Technology is Critical for Developing Secure, Dependable Renewable Power

Adam Cote

Adam Cote is being honored as a Veteran Advancing Clean Energy and Climate Security Champion of Change.

On December 21, 2004, I was in the mess hall in Mosul, Iraq when a suicide bomber attacked, killing twenty-two and wounding another seventy-two. Lucky to have been behind a large refrigerator, I was uninjured. In the pandemonium that followed I organized the treatment and evacuation of casualties and personally cared for numerous fellow soldiers. 

When I returned from Iraq, I applied these skills as a quick thinker and problem solver in complex situations front and center to my work in the energy sector.

My previous deployments to Bosnia and Iraq left me looking for ways to use my civilian career as an energy attorney to strengthen our economic and energy security here at home.  Coming from Maine, a state with some of the highest home heating costs in the country – yet some of the most incredible renewable energy resources – I started looking for a way to connect the dots between economic and energy security. How could we start integrating locally generated renewable power to increase our state’s energy security and reduce heating costs for families?

In 2009, my business partners and I founded Thermal Energy Storage of Maine (TESM), a company dedicated to promoting the use of affordable, off-peak electric thermal storage technology as both an economical home heating solution for families and as a way to convert intermittently-generated renewable power into a stable, secure, and local source of power and heat. TESM promotes electric thermal storage (ETS) furnaces and room heaters, which consist of a super-insulated metal box with ceramic bricks and heating elements inside.  At night an automatic timer opens a circuit and the heater charges, converting lower-cost, off-peak power into heat energy stored in the bricks for heating homes and businesses. 

Today our company works with Central Maine Power Company, Dead River Company, Madison Electric Works, Houlton Water Company and others to offer Mainers affordable, off-peak electric heating solutions that provide home heating at the equivalent cost of $2.25 to 2.90 per gallon of home heating oil. 

Integrating renewable power into the U.S. power grid will require widespread development of energy storage technologies.  Today, plants using carbon-based resources, such as oil and natural gas, often maintain energy generation and load in a near-perfect equilibrium state. However, many renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, wave and tidal power can be intermittent and difficult to control to match load levels.  Energy storage offers a flexible and controllable load that can be available to handle renewable power deliveries whenever they occur.

To use an Army colloquialism, energy storage is “good logistics” – it is a simple solution to a complex problem.   If we encourage and incorporate storage technologies in a variety of forms, we will make our entire energy infrastructure more flexible, efficient and secure. 

Our company is dedicated to promoting the use of energy storage, and we are proud to add our voice to those calling for storage technologies to be recognized as a key strategic infrastructure goal for our country.

Notification that I had been selected as a White House Champion of Change reached me at the Joint Forces Training Center at Camp Shelby, MS, where I was training with the Maine Army National Guard’s 133rd Engineering Battalion for our deployment to Afghanistan.  Although not able to attend the White House event in person, I am humbled and honored to be selected.

Adam Cote is CEO and Co-Founder of Thermal Energy Storage of Maine and currently deployed as a Company Commander in the Maine Army National Guard 133rd Engineering Battalion’s Task Force Black Bear in Afghanistan.  

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