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December 6, 2021

The U.S. Energy Storage Association Announces 2021 ESA Annual Award Winners

Energy Storage Industry Awards recognize excellence, diversity and leadership in the U.S. energy storage industry. 

Washington, D.C., December 6, 2021The U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA), the national trade association for the American energy storage industry, today announced the 2021 ESA Annual Award recipients. Each year ESA recognizes companies and individuals from across the industry for their outstanding commitments to excellence in innovation, diversity and inclusion, and forward-thinking leadership. This further demonstrates ESA’s commitment to highlighting leaders from across the energy storage industry. The awards were presented during #ESACon21 last week, where over 1,200 industry professionals gathered to discuss the most pressing issues and innovative technologies in energy storage to set the stage for the Storage Decade. 

The 2021 ESA Annual Award Winners are: 

  • Brad Roberts Outstanding Industry Achievement by a Member Organization Award: Ameresco and Energy Safety Response Group (ESRG)
  • Phil Symons Energy Storage Award: Mike Berlinski, Director Emerging Technology, Customized Energy Solutions; and Andrew Kaplan, Partner, Pierce Atwood LLP
  • Diversity & Inclusion Award: Imran Noorani, Chief Strategy Officer, Peak Power
  • Breakout Woman of the Year Award: Sharon Bonesteel AIA, CBO, CP, SRP ESS Codes and Safety Leader at Salt River Project; Christina Iwaniw, R&TD Engineer at New York Power Authority (NYPA); and Allyson Sand, Market Lead — Development at Plus Power

“This year was a landmark year for the U.S. energy storage industry, due in no small part to efforts of this year’s award winners,” said Jason Burwen, Interim CEO of ESA. “This year’s class has made huge strides in advancing the prospects of the energy storage industry, which will decarbonize the nation’s power system, make communities and grid infrastructure sufficiently resilient to climate-driven extreme weather events, and create good-paying jobs.” 

ESA surveys its members and past award recipients every year to identify the significant contributions of a member organization(s) in the storage industry for the Brad Roberts Outstanding Industry Achievement by a Member Organization Award. This year ESA is  proud to recognize two member organizations, including Ameresco and the Energy Safety Response Group (ESRG). Ameresco was chosen for its leadership in implementing battery energy storage systems (BESS) across the U.S. and leading resiliency projects at mission-critical facilities like the U.S. Marine Corp Recruit Depot Parris Island, which can now run fully-independent of the main grid during outages. ESRG is recognized for its efforts to bring together current and former firefighters, engineers and safety professionals along with the energy storage industry to advance all facets of energy storage safety and deployment through testing, consulting, training, and 24/7 emergency response. Since its inception in mid-2019, ESRG has supported the development, deployment, and safe operation of nearly 3GWh of energy storage from coast to coast across North America.

“We are humbled and honored to be recognized as a cleantech industry leader by the U.S. Energy Storage Association. At Ameresco we recognize the importance of innovation in our industry and are encouraged by the growth of the energy storage market. We commend the work done by the ESA to propel the market toward a cleaner and more resilient future.” – George Sakellaris, Founder and CEO of Ameresco

“ESRG is honored to receive the Brad Roberts Outstanding Industry Achievement Award for our work in advancing safety through the energy storage value chain. As a full spectrum safety service provider, we’ve had the opportunity to work with dozens of entities throughout all facets of this industry in supporting the development of dozens of products and the deployment of nearly 3 GWh of energy storage projects. We are grateful for the opportunity to help our customers and while our approach may come off as tough love at times, we take seriously our commitment to what we do and to protecting the industry, property, and most importantly life. As the industry continues to grow, we look forward to working with our clients to build safer battery systems, more efficiently deploy projects, and seeing those projects through to a safe and responsible end of life.” – Nick Warner, Principal and Co-Founder of ESRG 

The Phil Symons Energy Storage Award celebrates individual contributions to the advancement of energy storage, which this year is awarded to Mike Berlinski, Director of Emerging Technology, Customized Energy Solutions, and Andrew Kaplan, Partner, Pierce Atwood LLP. Mr. Berlinski is recognized for his thought leadership on how to improve wholesale electricity markets for energy storage, much of which informed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s landmark Order 841 and for helping to build one of the first consulting practices devoted to advising on energy storage market opportunities.

“I couldn’t be more proud to receive the Phil Symons Energy Storage Award from ESA and especially alongside my friend, Andrew Kaplan, with whom I engaged in many efforts over the last decade to remove barriers to energy storage operations and to improve market opportunities.” – Mike Berlinski, Director Emerging Technology at Customized Energy Solutions

“This is an exciting time for the energy storage industry, and I’m honored to be recognized for my work with the U.S. Energy Storage Association and its member leaders to expand opportunities for operating on the nation’s grids in an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective manner.” – Andrew Kaplan, Partner, Pierce Atwood LLP 

The Diversity & Inclusion Award recognizes those who have worked to nurture and encourage diversity and inclusion in the energy storage industry and paved the way for the success of women, people of color, and LBGTQ professionals. Imran Noorani, Chief Strategy Officer, Peak Power is the winner of this award for his dedication to expanding diversity at Peak Power. Imran spearheaded Peak’s justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) working group to promote a more inclusive workplace, and committed the company to the Government of Canada’s 50-30 Challenge. 

“I want to thank my team at Peak Power for their support and dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Employee-led DEI has always been an integral ingredient in our internal successes, but we’re excited to begin the next phase of our journey, in contributing work to our sector and beyond.” – Imran Noorani, Chief Strategy Officer at Peak Power

The Breakout Woman of the Year Award recognizes individual women who have made significant contributions to the energy storage industry in the past year, while having less than a decade’s experience in the space. This year ESA is proud to recognize three outstanding women: Sharon Bonesteel AIA, CBO, CP, of Salt River Project (SRP), for her work to organize, train, investigate, and provide research to support the use of energy storage systems within SRP and across Arizona; Christina Iwaniw, New York Power Authority (NYPA), for her leadership in launching PV solar and storage projects across the state of New York and State Universities of New York (SUNY); and Allyson Sand, Plus Power, who led the first standalone energy storage projects ever to clear the ISO-NE Forward Capacity Market auction and is managing a pipeline of 475 MW / 1250 MWh across two wholesale markets, with only three years in the industry under her belt. 

“This is quite an honor. I would like to thank the ESA and SRP for all the support of my Energy Storage Collaboration team. We pursued best practices for safe deployment of energy storage and know that we must keep learning as this rapidly evolving industry. Energy Storage is important for our transition to renewable resources, and we must do it safely.” – Sharon Bonesteel, SRP’s Energy Storage Codes and Safety team leader.

“I’m honored to be selected as one of the U.S.  Energy Storage Association’s leadership award recipients and congratulate all women in the industry making a positive impact. Helping public entities in New York State develop solar and energy storage systems in their communities is personally rewarding to me and moves the entire state toward a cleaner energy future.” – Christina Iwaniw, senior renewable energy engineer for the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

“I am really proud to help prove that storage can compete with fossil fuel resources and win wholesale market recognition for their value. This shows storage is about to scale widely over the next few years.” – Allyson Sand, Market Lead — Development at Plus Power   

The U.S. energy storage industry has experienced rapid growth this year. With 345 megawatts (MW) of new energy storage systems deployed, Q2 2021 was the second-largest quarter on record by MW for U.S. energy storage additions and the ninth consecutive quarter of increased energy systems deployments. Punctuating what  is shaping up to be another record setting year for energy storage deployments according to Wood Mackenzie, the U.S. Energy Storage Association will merge into the American Clean Power Association (ACP) on January 1, 2022. The merger will  ensure that all clean energy stakeholders have the resources and support they need to attain ESA’s vision of 100 GW of new energy storage by 2030, and build a best-in-class trade group that is nimble, effective and able to represent the renewable energy and energy storage industries with a unified voice. 

For more information about ESA’s Annual Awards and past winners, please visit

About Energy Storage Association 

The U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) is the national trade association dedicated to energy storage, working toward a more resilient, efficient, sustainable, and affordable electricity grid – as is uniquely enabled by energy storage. With more than 200 members, ESA represents a diverse group of companies, including independent power producers, electric utilities, energy service companies, financiers, insurers, law firms, installers, manufacturers, component suppliers and integrators involved in deploying energy storage systems around the globe. More information is available at:  The U.S. Energy Storage Association will merge into the American Clean Power Association (ACP) on January 1, 2022. 

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