California Storing Energy in Ice to Reduce Peak Demand

by | Jan 28, 2010

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IceEnergystorageThe Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), which represents 11 municipal utilities, plans to install energy-storage devices to cut the amount of electricity used by air conditioners during peak demand, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The systems from Ice Energy, which connect to a building’s air conditioning units, use off-peak energy overnight to freeze 450 gallons of water in an insulated tank, storing energy in the form of ice that is used to cool buildings during high peak power demand, reports Recharge News.

Touted as the nation’s first utility-scale distributed energy storage project, the 53-megawatt project will be installed by SCPPA member utilities throughout Southern California to reduce peak power demand by shifting as much as 64 gigawatt hours of on-peak electrical consumption to off-peak periods every year, says Ice Energy, in a press release.

SCPPA says the energy storage system stores the energy at thousands of distributed locations and uses the smart grid to intelligently dispatch the energy during times of peak demand.

Installation of the storage systems will begin in the first half of 2010, with deployment scheduled over the next two years.

The project is expected to contribute to grid stability, lower rates, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and allow the integration of more renewable energy, reports Recharge News.

Utilities are evaluating several technologies to reduce energy demand at peak times, including storage and demand-response systems to avoid bringing online “peaker” plants during high power demand, reports CNET.

The Ice Energy system has been tested for both commercial and residential buildings in California.

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