California Municipal Utilities Order up to 1MW of Ice Batteries

The Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), an organisation comprising the municipal utilities of 10 cities and one irrigation district, has ordered a potential 1MW of ice battery storage systems from Ice Energy.

The systems, to be installed at customer residences, will help the utilities to tackle the difficult problem of mitigating residential peak demand “in a reliable and cost-effective manner”, Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins said.

Up to 100 systems, each of 9.6kW, will be deployed, replacing the outdoor condensing units of homeowners’ air conditioning systems. Ice Energy’s ice battery uses copper coils to pump cold refrigerant through regular tap water, making ice, with the idea being that this can be done during off-peak hours.

The residential model, branded Ice Bear 20, can cool a home continuously for four hours, with the company claiming it can save 95% of associated electricity costs. The larger Ice Bear 30 model is available to commercial users.

Ice Energy claims Ice Bear is smart-grid enabled, including bi-directional communications technology and can completely replace existing home air conditioning units. The systems installed for SCPPA should allow the utilities to reduce their peak demand, in effect saving energy, increasing efficiency and lowering emissions. The four hours’ continuous cooling they offer allow the utility to load shed for that time.

California Municipal Utilities Order up to 1MW of Ice Batteries, by Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage, February 13, 2017.

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