ORIGINAL REPORTING: Putting New Energy On Ice
Ice, ice energy: The hot market for cooled liquid energy storage; Ice Energy and CALMAC are proving their value while newer technologies wrestle with cost
Herman K. Trabish, November 3, 2015 (Utility Dive)
While much of the energy storage sector is working at the edge of financial sustainability, margins are in the 25% to 30% range for the two dominant providers of cooled liquid storage, which uses low-priced nighttime electricity to freeze or cool a liquid and then utilizes the chilled liquid to help offset electric air conditioning loads when power prices peak during the day. Unlike the many emerging battery energy storage startups just starting to serve today’s exciting marketplace, Ice Energy has been providing cooling storage for 5-ton to 20-ton air conditioning systems since 2003. The privately-held company has over 10 MW of installed storage capacity that has logged over 30 million operational hours, with signed contracts for 31 MW more.
CALMAC, which uses a similar storage technology but a very different business model, has installed over 4,000 of its 100-ton to 10,00- ton chiller and storage systems since 1978 and has been earning sustainable profits for decades, according to the company. CALMAC’s system is designed to cut the peak electricity usage of big buildings, while Ice Energy’s system is designed to help utilities reduce their system peaks. But both companies see stored cooling as “the low hanging fruit” in an effort to manage the grid’s peak load. click here for more
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