Energy Storage Association to World: #StorageIsHere

What does it take to start a hashtag for your industry? Just ask the Energy Storage Association, the primary trade group for energy storage. With support from members, its #StorageIsHere campaign outpaced ESA's own ambitions.

The practice of energy storage—stashing energy away in storage facilities for later use—is still fairly obscure, despite the industry’s recent growth spurt. Last year, the U.S. energy-storage market surged by 243 percent and is expected to become a $2.5 billion industry by 2020, according to the 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Monitor.

Great news for the industry, but how do you get people to notice that impressive feat?

If you’re the Energy Storage Association—which began as the Utility Battery group 26 years ago and currently represents 250 companies, nonprofit organizations, and industry experts—you launch a wide-ranging social media campaign. And that’s how the #StorageIsHere hashtag came to life on Twitter last week. ESA, along with corporate members and enthusiasts, tweeted information about the industry and the benefits of storage technology.

In comments to Associations Now, ESA Executive Director Matt Roberts said the ultimate goal of the campaign is awareness.

“Working closely with our industry partners, we designed the #StorageIsHere campaign to send one clear message: Energy storage is here, it’s affordable, it improves the reliability of our electrical gird, and it’s working in thousands of projects across around the world,” Roberts said.

The campaign emphasized different aspects of the industry on different days and, on March 30, culminated in a #StorageChat session, which got numerous energy-industry companies talking. (You can catch the highlights on Storify.)

In the end, the coordinated campaign encompassed more than 1,800 tweets and reached as many as 3 million people online—more than ESA was anticipating. The social strategy was successful in engaging new audiences and gave the industry a chance to show off its work, Roberts said.

“We opted for a campaign on social media, because everyone—energy storage companies, utilities, and even consumers—could participate in the discussion with comments or even by posting pictures of everything from flywheels to batteries,” he added.

And while the campaign is technically over, the hashtag is anything but dead: It’s still drawing continued interest nearly a week after the fact, Roberts said.

A 150-kilowatt battery system in Chicago, run by S&C Electric Company. (via ESA's Twitter page)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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