Smart Grid

December 14, 2012

Naperville Expands Smart Grid Pilot with Verde Energy Storage Demo

Norwalk, Connecticut-based electricity retailer Verde Energy (News - Alert) USA has joined with the City of Naperville, Illinois, to launch a smart grid-enabled distributed-energy storage system demonstration project at the municipality’s Water Service Center.

The program, free-of-charge to the host city, will begin this month and continue throughout 2013, during which time Verde and Naperville will collect data and share results. They expect the storage system to achieve energy efficiencies and reduce costs.

As part of the partnership, Verde will invest the funds necessary to purchase and install an Ice Bear storage system from Glendale, California-based Ice Energy. Through a partnership agreement with Ice Energy, Verde holds the rights to distribute Ice Bear technology, which has been tested and proven by more than 50 investor- and publicly-owned utilities throughout North America.

The Ice Bear replaces conventional condensing units. It shifts air conditioning electrical power demand to off-peak hours by using water to make ice at night, when the electric grid usually handles a smaller load. Then, during a hot summer day, when demand goes up and electric prices may be higher, the melting ice provides the cooling that would otherwise have to come from the air conditioner's compressor. The melted water is recycled through the system when the process begins again the following night.

The result is lower energy costs and increased electric grid reliability.

The City of Naperville already is engaged in the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative, an upgrade of the City's $360 million electric network to provide more efficient, cost-effective and reliable service to Naperville's utility customers and empower them with more information on their energy usage (see video). 

Above, an aerial view of Naperville. Image via City of Naperville, IL

"This technology provides a perfect opportunity to achieve needed upgrades at our Water Service Center in a more energy efficient way," commented Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel. "We are happy to serve as a model for other communities interested in sustainable clean energy solutions. The project also provides a great opportunity to realize one of the benefits of our smart grid initiative."

Thomas FitzGerald, CEO of Verde, said, "Building on Naperville's demonstrated commitment to using smart grid technologies, we are confident that this partnership will further benefit both the City and the environment—reducing high-cost peak electricity demand to improve energy system efficiency and grid reliability. It's a proven, distributed-energy storage technology, which our strategic partner, Ice Energy, has successfully deployed in hundreds of buildings across the country. We have an excellent track record in Illinois as a retail energy supplier, and this partnership with Naperville reflects our commitment to extend our energy solutions business throughout Illinois, with additional partnership agreements on state, regional and municipal levels."

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Edited by Braden Becker