Ice Energy’s plan to end the duck curve

Ice Energy hopes to counter the Californian duck curve by replacing traditional air conditioning with ice energy storage. Pic: Ice Energy.

Ice Energy hopes to counter the Californian duck curve by replacing traditional air conditioning with ice energy storage. Pic: Ice Energy.

By Jason Deign

Thermal energy storage developer Ice Energy is gearing up to increase sales of a product that has the potential to end California’s famous ‘duck curve’.

The Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) has already announced plans to buy up to 100 of Ice Energy’s Ice Bear 20 residential cooling systems, which completed testing about a month ago.

The 20 ton-hour systems use energy when there is excess production, for example at night, to create ice that is then used for cooling during peak electricity consumption periods, such as evenings.

“At 9.6kW per Ice Bear 20, the order will potentially add nearly 1MW of new energy storage and peak demand reduction capacity to the SCPPA network, saving energy, improving efficiency and reducing emissions,” said Ice Energy.

The deal marks Ice Energy’s debut in the residential energy storage market, a move the company unveiled in Energy Storage Report last year, and follows growing utility interest in using Ice Bears for demand response. 
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Ice Energy consumer product slated for 2017

Ice Energy, the thermal energy storage company, will offer a residential variant of its Ice Bear 20 next year. The product combines ice storage and air conditioning. Photo credit: Sandia

Ice Energy, the thermal energy storage company, will offer a residential variant of its Ice Bear 20 next year. The product combines ice storage and air conditioning. Photo credit: Sandia

By Jason Deign

Ice Energy, the thermal energy storage player, is planning to offer a consumer variant of its new Ice Bear 20 product next year.

The product will use ice for air conditioning and will likely have a little less than the Ice Bear 20’s current four hours of storage, CEO Mike Hopkins told Energy Storage Report.

It will cost slightly more than a new air conditioning system. But it could come in “a little bit under the cost of air conditioning if you take account of rebates in California,” Hopkins said.

The Ice Bear 20, a 20 ton-hour ‘ice battery’ launched at the beginning of this month, is already designed to replace household air conditioning units in what Hopkins termed “a standard-sized home” in the US, measuring around 230m2.

However, Ice Energy is targeting the Ice Bear 20 at utilities wanting to gain greater control of consumer energy loads. Hopkins said National Grid had already expressed an interest in deploying the product in Nantucket, USA.
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