ICE AIR COOLING
Coming to So Cal: 53 Megawatts of Ice; The ice age is here again, and the utilities are paying
Michael Kanellos, January 26, 2010 (Greentech Media)
"If they can pull it off, sheets of ice will soon cover large swaths of the California power grid.
"The Southern California Public Power Authority and Ice Energy [plan] to deploy ice air conditioners on a broad scale in the region in part by shifting the burden of paying for a new air conditioner from the building owner to a utility. In one community in the program, a utility will pay for the air conditioners and own them as its own asset…[T]he air conditioners slated for deployment in Southern California could lead to 53 megawatts worth of energy storage…[and] provide 64 gigawatt hours of daytime power each year. Fifty megawatts of power can be shaved from daytime demand with about 5,500… Ice Bear units…"
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"Ice air conditioners work by effectively shifting the power required to run air conditioners from the middle of the afternoon, when power costs the most and demand is highest, to nighttime, when utilities often have to dump the power they generate because of slack demand…[T]he machines make ice at night. As it melts, the chill is transferred to heat exchangers and distributed through a building. The six hours of chill the ice can provide can ideally get most buildings though the bulk of the day. The giant icemakers often sit beneath parking lots.
"Ice air conditioners have been around since the 1920s, when movie theaters used to deploy them to draw crowds on hot summer days. (And long before that, Roman Emperor Varius Avitus had snow mounds brought to his garden to generate cool breezes…In more recent times, ice air conditioners have been placed in shopping centers and university buildings…[But ice air conditioners still make up] only a fraction of the market. Ice Energy has been pushing to accelerate sales by changing incentives and ownership structures…because they are so expensive] payback can take years…"
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"Some ice air conditioners actually use more power than regular air conditioners: unless a building owner participates in a net metering program, they could end up being worse off…Utilities, however, consistently benefit from them because of the reduction in peak power demand…Air conditioners can account for as much as 50 percent of electricity consumption in California, and even more in hotter places like Dubai. As a result, Ice Energy shifted strategies and began to sell its units to utilities as devices for peak shaving…[daily] eliminating a chunk of daytime power needs…
"Three U.S. representatives last year proposed a bill that would provide business owners and consumers a 30 percent tax credit for installing ice systems…[to] spur demand in places where utility-based programs don't exist…[by defraying] costs for the utility…"