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Ice Energy, Genbright to deploy 1MW of ice energy storage in Nantucket

The 200-plus Ice Bear systems will start to be installed on Nantucket in summer 2017. Image: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Genbright, a New England-based company specialised in developing clean energy systems, and distributed thermal energy storage provider Ice Energy announced a partnership last week that will help cut down on Nantucket’s peak energy demand using Ice Energy’s energy storage solutions.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) awarded Genbright and Ice Energy with a contract to provide over 200 residential behind-the-meter energy storage systems on the island of Nantucket using Ice Energy’s Ice Bear 20 technology. The company's 'ice battery' uses copper coils to pump cold refrigerant through tap water to make ice, which can be done during off-peak hours. Typically, Ice Bears replace the outdoor condensing units of homeowners’ air conditioning systems.

Genbright will be lead the real-time dispatch of the systems to deliver over 1MW of peak demand reduction, which is equivalent to one year of growth in electricity demand on the island.

Joe Crespo, founder and partner of Genbright, said: "We are grateful for the opportunity to show how Genbright can provide value to ratepayers by deploying and operating new innovative technologies. The Ice Bear 20 is an ideal solution for mitigating Nantucket's growing peak demand, and saving ratepayers money. By adding the Ice Bear to our portfolio of dispatchable clean energy technologies, Genbright is expanding its capability to help New England manage the increasingly complex needs of our electricity grid."

The 200-plus Ice Bear systems will be installed on Nantucket starting in summer 2017. The total value of this project is approximately US$3 million.

The Ice Bear energy systems replace standard residential air conditioning units, providing a unique solution for electricity demand.  An Ice Bear freezes water into ice at night when demand for power is low. During the day, that ice is used for air conditioning instead of energy-intensive AC compressors. Ice Bear systems also reduce CO2 emissions.

Lauren Sinatra, energy project and outreach coordinator for Nantucket, added: "We are proud and excited for Nantucket to be chosen to serve as a demonstration location for this innovative energy storage project, and to be a model for other areas experiencing peak load issues. Local participants will enjoy increased comfort as well as savings on their energy bills. They will also be doing their part for the greater good of the island by helping to defer the need for traditional contingency support, such as back-up diesel generation and a costly third undersea cable."

Australia distribution deal

Ice Energy has been busy over the last week, as the company announced that it has entered into an agreement calling for Apricus Australia to become the exclusive distributor for all Ice Energy products in Australia.

Apricus will market and sell to all market segments, including utilities, commercial, industrial and residential, and will be responsible for installation and service. Initially the products will be imported from the US., but both companies intend for Apricus to manufacture locally as sales increase.

Mike Hopkins, CEO of Ice Energy, noted: "We're delighted to be partnering with Apricus in this new market for Ice Energy. Over the last 12 months we've had a steadily growing number of inquiries from Australia about our products. This is not surprising, given the needs of the country's grid, the importance of their cooling load, and the ability of our products to turn that load into a cost-effective and reliable storage resource capable of flattening peak demand and eliminating solar over-generation."

Ice Energy has a number of direct competitors in its field, with the likes of Viking Cold, Axiom Energy and Calmac also producing 'cold' energy storage solutions. Ice Energy's recent biggest project win was a 25.6MW procurement from California utility Southern California Edison, constituting just over a tenth of the utility's ongoing 250MW energy storage procurement.