A Santa Barbara-based company called Ice Energy has partnered with NRG Energy to deliver 1,800 “ice batteries” to commercial and industrial buildings served by electric utility Southern California Edison (SCE).
The units are expected to reduce air conditioning bills by up to 40 percent and eliminate 200,000 tons of CO2 over the next 20 years.
Ice Energy has been building ice-based cooling systems since the early 2000s. Much like pumped storage or compressed air “batteries,” Ice Energy essentially stores electricity by drawing power from the grid at non-peak times to freeze water in a special container.
Then at peak times, when the cost of electricity is high and grid operators are struggling to keep up with demand, Ice Energy’s systems kick in and use that block of ice to cool the space that the air conditioning unit normally serves.
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