T&D World Magazine
Riverside Public Utilities Contracts for Thermal Energy Storage

Riverside Public Utilities Contracts for Thermal Energy Storage

Energy storage technology reduces power consumption during peak periods

Ice Energy has been awarded a five-year contract from Riverside Public Utilities to provide 5 MW of behind-the-meter thermal energy storage using Ice Energy’s proprietary Ice Bear system. The program will kick off this spring.

The City of Riverside, California, the hottest climate zone in the Los Angeles basin, selected Ice Energy to align with its Utility 2.0 smart grid and renewable energy plan. Ice Energy’s product, the Ice Bear, is a smart-grid enabled, thermal energy storage technology that will help Riverside Public Utilities better integrate its increasing reliance on clean, renewable energy resources like wind, solar, and geothermal systems to maintain low energy costs for its customers.

“This is our first energy storage project launching a new era – Utility 2.0 – for the city of Riverside,” said Girish Balchandran, general manager for Riverside Public Utilities. “We chose Ice Energy’s technology to improve grid reliability and to reduce peak capacity of commercial business air conditioning for many reasons – it will help to minimize infrastructure investment, help to achieve our environmental objectives all while ensuring the lowest energy costs for customers. The project also creates an economic development opportunity whereby 30-40% of the project investment will be go right back into our community using labor and project materials sourced locally to install and operate the thermal energy storage equipment.”

Ice Energy’s product, the Ice Bear, attaches to one or more standard 5-20 ton commercial AC units. The Ice Bear freezes ice at night when demand for power is low and capacity is abundant. Then during the day, stored ice is used to provide cooling, instead of power-intensive AC compressors – a unique solution to the heart of the problem that creates inefficient and less reliable grids, peak use surges. Each Ice Bear can reduce harmful CO2 emissions by up to 10 tons per year.

Riverside, like other public utilities in California, is increasing its investment in renewable sources to meet Governor Brown’s newly enacted legislation upping the state’s goal to 50 percent renewables by 2030. Energy storage, particularly the distributed, efficient and cost-effective storage provided by Ice Energy, will help to maintain a robust and reliable grid. Almost 1,000 Ice Bear units are already installed in more than 40 different utility service territories nationwide surpassing 25 million hours of reliable operation.

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