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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Idaho Company Acquires an Iconic Vermont Energy Storage Firm

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2022 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge Jay Bellows of Northern Reliability - FILE: KEVIN MCCALLUM ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Kevin McCallum ©️ Seven Days
  • Jay Bellows of Northern Reliability
Waterbury-based energy storage systems manufacturer Northern Reliability has been acquired by an Idaho company — but it’s not going anywhere.

KORE Power announced that NorthernReliability will be part of a new entity called KORE Solutions and will remain in Waterbury. It will immediately add 25 positions, KORE Power said in a prepared statement.

The Waterbury company has created more than 1,000 energy storage projects around the world, including many for off-grid uses in extreme environments such as Antarctica.

Jay Bellows, who was formerly president and CEO of Northern Reliability and is now president of KORE Power, said on Tuesday that the acquisition will speed up growth that was already planned  for Northern Reliability, which has 31 employees. They’re all based in a space once used by Keurig Green Mountain.

“We were growing before; now we’re expediting that,” Bellows said.

Bellows joined the company in late 2013. He lives in Waterbury and expects
to stay.

“My family is here. My home is here,” he said. “Our employees enjoy living here.”

The global market for energy storage  is expanding fast, with the electric vehicle
sector boosting demand for lithium-ion batteries. Lower prices and increasing performance are making it cost-effective to hook up tractor trailer-size battery packs to electric grids to soak up excess power from solar and wind farms when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Later, that energy can recharge fleets of EVs and even electric aircraft.

Northern Reliability has made an array of battery packs; its largest is 15 feet tall.

Bellows expects demand to continue soaring as manufacturers produce more EVs.

“The electric grid needs to grow in order to take 290 million internal combustion engines off the road,” Bellows said.

KORE Power, which makes battery cell technology for the clean energy industry, announced plans in July to build a 1 million-square-foot battery  manufacturing facility in Arizona that will have the capacity to produce enough power for 3.2 million homes each year. The company said it is starting construction later this year.

“The acquisition [of Northern Reliability] positions the company to take advantage of the rapidly expanding energy storage solution space, as KORE Solutions brings on [Northern Reliability’s] robust, US-made project pipeline,” KORE Solutions said in a statement.

Northern Reliability got its start in Warren as part of Northern Power Systems,  one of the nation’s first renewable energy developers. Northern Power became one of several early energy storage specialists powering a nascent sector in Vermont.

More recently, local startups such as Resonant Link and electric aircraft pioneer Beta Technologies have been developing novel battery technologies that place them at the fore of their emerging fields.

Bill Shepeluk, Waterbury’s municipal manager, welcomed the news that Northern Reliability, now KORE Solutions, expects to rapidly add jobs. He noted that the village misses the employees who used to work at the state office complex.

“We are still kind of dealing with the pandemic decisions of the state, where there are supposed to be 1,000 employees at the state complex and there are very few there now,” Shepeluk said. “Any additional people to the downtown is a
welcome thing.”

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About The Author

Anne Wallace Allen

Anne Wallace Allen

Anne Wallace Allen covers breaking news and business stories for Seven Days. She was the editor at the Idaho Business Review and a reporter for VTDigger and the Associated Press in Montpelier.

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