Innovation Editor’s choice: AES


18th December 2017

A company that combines Latin passion and American discipline
In January 2018, newly founded Fluence will start selling lithium-ion battery energy storage systems. The new company will take the product to 160 countries, and sales are expected to grow 10-fold in five years.
This would have been a wonderful story to fit in any of the now all too common compilations of epic successes of startups. This company however, is not the result of the tenacious work of graduate students in their den, but of the disciplined approach to innovation of Fortune 200 company AES, that joint ventured with the German giant, Siemens.
AES initially developed lithium-ion battery banks in 2007 in the United States, but the product only got attention when it was perfected and became a commercial success in AES Chile in 2010, AES’s CEO, Venezuelan-born, Andrés Gluski told Latin Trade. After that, the company took its technology to eight other countries, the United States included.
That is proof to the power of multinationals in technological development, in which diffusion does not have to follow a one-way, north to south path. As a side note, AES gets 50 percent of its revenue from Latin America, and 25 percent from its U.S. operation.
Energy storage is crucial for solar and wind power generation to be viable additions to electricity grids. Solar is not a 24/7 option, Gluski explained. It has a peak at noon and a long nighttime valley, which places it far from demand needs. Batteries stabilize the …

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