California, United States – The state of California is on its way to requiring utilities to store a portion of the renewable energy they generate for off-peak usage.
California Energy Storage Bill AB 2514 was passed last week and is awaiting a signature from Gov. Schwarzenegger to become law. Specifically the bill would require the Public Utilities Commission by March 1, 2012, to open a proceeding to consider establishing investor owned utility procurement targets for viable and cost-effective energy storage systems to be achieved by December 31, 2015, and an additional target to be achieved by December 31, 2020.
Publicly owned utilities would have comparable requirements, and would be required to develop plans to maximize shifting of electricity use for air-conditioning and refrigeration from peak demand periods to off peak periods.
Ice Energy, a company that makes systems that store energy for air conditioning in the form of ice, applauded the new bill. Ice Energy sells its units directly to utilities who install them on building rooftops to offset peak energy demands that occur during heavy use of air conditioning. The system makes ice at night, when energy demand is low, and then uses the ice to cool the building during the day, when energy demand ramps up.
If utilities in California and other areas are mandated to use storage solutions, Ice Energy’s systems will surely play a role in helping them meet their targets.
Chief policy officer and executive vice president of Ice Energy, David Nemtzow, sees the bill as one that would help the economy by creating jobs. “It will help create thousands of new clean energy jobs throughout the state, while bringing California closer to realizing its renewable energy goals and lowering costs for consumers,” he said.