April 26, 2016

4 Thermal Energy Storage Benefits That Will Improve Your Bottom Line

Cold Storage, Supermarket

Viking Cold’s Thermal Energy Storage (TES) has many benefits for commercial businesses with high refrigeration based loads. Here are four of the main benefits that TES can provide.

1. Big Savings
Imagine a world where gasoline costs $3 per gallon, but you could buy the same gasoline at night for $.75 per gallon. What time of the day would you buy your gasoline? You probably would buy the $.75 per gallon gasoline at night, store that energy in your gas storage tank and then use it during the day.

For businesses with high refrigeration loads, like a grocery store, cold storage facility, restaurant or fast food business, you could buy your power at night for $.10 per KWh but during the day you would have to pay $.50 per KWh. What time of day would you buy your electricity?  Of course, you would want to buy it at night but there is one problem. Where do you store that energy? This is where Thermal Energy Storage (TES) plays an important role. It is the storage tank for your refrigeration electricity load.

The electricity example above is how rates work for most commercial businesses.  Peak demand changes are based on the highest 15-minute or 30-minute demand peak each month and account for up to 70% of the total electric bill for a commercial business. Since everyone in a utility’s area needs to use electricity to operate at roughly the same time during the day, the grid becomes overloaded and energy prices skyrocket. In fact, Boston businesses regularly pay over $25.00/kW (the demand charge) and New York businesses regularly pay over $50.00/kW (the demand charge) during peak demand hours.

By storing energy drawn from the grid at night when demand for energy is lower, commercial refrigeration based operations can save dramatically on electricity consumption. Viking Cold’s thermal energy storage system stores refrigeration during the night and releases its “energy” during the day, reducing peak demand by up to 90% and on average saves 25-35% of refrigeration based energy consumption.

Refrigeration is an expensive endeavor that can be made more manageable with thermal energy storage. Facility managers can shift peak refrigeration loads to nighttime and store thermal energy for use later. This allows the facility to bypass expensive peak-demand charges while providing operational flexibility and operating cost savings.

2. Rewards of Being a GREEN Business
Going green has many practical advantages, one is economic. Southern California utilities offer incentives to shift peak demand using energy efficiency technologies. Florida allows companies that produce and sell electricity from a renewable energy source with storage to take a corporate income tax credit. The Energy-Efficient Technologies Grants Program provides grants for Florida companies using thermal energy storage to run the business.

While public response alone is not necessarily the motivation for going green, it may be a positive side effect. With green initiatives increasing in popularity, economic studies have shown that companies utilizing green approaches to conducting business are seeing an increase in profits. As a result, these companies have seen customers respond positively to a green image.

3. Increased Grid Resiliency
Protecting the stability of the power grid is a benefit of thermal energy storage. The technology will play a role in improving grid reliability especially with solar PV installations.

Energy storage expansion is the result of states such as California passing strong renewable energy storage requirements to support greater grid resiliency, It is due to increased interest among large-scale commercial businesses who want to reduce their energy demands. Companies like Calmac, Ice Energy, and Viking Cold Solutions are leading the charge into thermal energy storage for renewables. These solutions will support greater grid reliability and reduce electricity consumption for commercial businesses.

Thermal Energy Storage for renewable energy sources like wind and solar make them more reliable. Thermal energy storage can store renewable energy and draws on it when there is higher demand.

4. Environmental Impact is reduced
Thermal energy storage is needed to address intermittency to keep solar plus storage on a growth trajectory. The worlds grids can increase their generation using renewables to drastically reduce dependence on fossil fuels with thermal energy storage technologies.

Over 4 gigawatts of energy storage is currently installed across the globe and the Department of Energy reported 1.7 GW is provided by thermal energy storage. A sign that the benefits of thermal energy storage are being recognized and utilized around the world.

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