The NAATBatt Annual Meeting is the highlight of the year at NAATBatt, accounting probably for a majority of our budget and staff time each year, and certainly for a majority of the Executive Director’s worries and headaches.  With the meeting now just four months away, planning activity is starting in earnest.  The best evidence of that planning is the new web site for the meeting and registration page, which just went live this week.  I would encourage you to check it out by clicking here and to register for the meeting soon.

The NAATBatt 2016 Annual Meeting & Conference will be held on February 29-March 3, at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, in Indian Wells, California.  Our goal at NAATBatt annual meetings is not to compete with some of the numerous trade shows in the industry, such as The Battery Show, Energy Storage North America, the ESA meeting and Intersolar North America.  Our goal is to do something a little different, and for the past five years we have done a great job achieving our goal.

The fundamental premise of NAATBatt is that advanced battery companies need something more than trade shows to make new business connections and to close sales.  Advanced battery companies need the ability to form and solidify personal relationships with decision makers at other companies.  This is what NAATBatt programs facilitate.  Our annual meetings are intentionally structured as social affairs meant to bring the decision makers of our member firms together in a pleasant and fun social setting.  The social events are coupled with an educational program focused on big picture issues in the industry that will be of interest to high level executives.  The program is interesting, thought provoking, and fun.

The 2016 meeting and conference will be consistent with the NAATBatt formula. The meeting starts with the Advanced Battery Golf & Tennis Tournament, which will take place this year at the Indian Wells Golf Resort, immediately next door to the Hyatt, on February 29.  The Indian Wells Golf Resort has hosted several PGA events and is one of the best golf courses in the Palm Springs area.  Most important, it will host the NAATBatt Tournament at the end of February, when many of our members will welcome the relief from winter weather that a round of golf or set of tennis in Palm Springs can provide.

The agenda for the educational program of the annual meeting also largely complete.  As always, the program will focus on a number of big-picture issues that have not been well covered (and in some cases not covered at all) by other conferences in the industry this year.  Among the topics will be:

  • The growing occurrence of conflicting patent claims in the advanced battery area and the impact that runaway patent litigation might have on the industry as a whole. Some possible solutions, based on the experience of other industries, will be discussed.
  • Energy storage battery warranties. ESS customers say they won’t take technology risk. How much risk must manufacturers and EPC’s really accept to make a sale? What is “market” for battery warranties today?
  • A complete analysis of behind-the-meter storage opportunities in commercial, residential and island applications. Where are the non-utility market opportunities in storage really going to be in 2016 and what factors will drive them?
  • Developments in power conversion, recharging and energy harvesting technologies: What’s the impact on batteries?
  • The full electric light passenger vehicle has long been dismissed as a small “niche” market. But are there reasons why that “niche” might become much bigger much sooner than many believe?
  • An update on thin film battery technology, the battery technology that will power the “internet of things”. How can traditional advanced battery companies play in this space?

The 2016 Annual Meeting will also see a return of the Energy Storage Innovation Summit:  “flash” presentations by a jury-selected group of 20 emerging companies about market-ready energy storage-related technologies and products available for immediate license or purchase.  NAATBatt’s goal is provide our members with a one-stop shop, to see and potentially acquire new products and technologies that their customers may want to buy.  The Summit has a well-earned reputation for producing deals in the industry. The 2016 Summit will be no different.

Be sure to check out the new web site for the 2016 Annual Meeting and to register soon.  The NAATBatt annual meeting is where the business of advanced batteries gets done.  I look forward to seeing you in Indian Wells early next year.