According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, renewable energy accounted for $286 billion of the world’s spending in 2015, twice the amount that was spent on coal and gas plants. Forms of clean, distributed energy- such as wind and solar- are breaking into the mainstream energy portfolio and swiftly shifting our energy landscape. Utilities worldwide, however, are struggling to integrate the growing distributed energy portfolio. The challenge they face is due to the sharp spike in daily renewable energy supply vs. demand, followed by an abrupt drop when the sun sets and winds die down – illustrated in the popular “duck curve” graph. Thus, utilities must quickly compensate for a decreased supply of renewables, oftentimes while the demand for electricity is also greatest. Residential and commercial air conditioning (AC) accounts for up to 40 percent of this peak electricity demand across the grid, often forcing utilities to ramp up gas peaker plants to offset demand. Thermal battery storage, however, can provide utilities with a reliable alternative to address peak demand and flatten the duck curve by using stored energy in the form of ice. Ice battery storage, located within buildings and homes, allows utilities to transform cooling load into a clean, responsive and flexible grid resource by freezing water in an insulated tank during off-peak hours, and using the ice to replace an air conditioner’s energy-intensive compressor during peak hours. The result is hours of uninterrupted cooling for the end user (and a reduced electricity bill), with a simultaneous 95 percent reduction in electricity consumption for utilities. Ice batteries give utilities the power to permanently shift residential and commercial AC load from peak to off-peak hours, significantly flattening the “duck curve” and enabling continued deployment of distributed renewable energy resources. This presentation will discuss the challenges of distributed energy resources for building owners and utilities, and explore how behind-the-meter thermal storage can provide an energy- and money-saving solution, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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