Technology Merit: Energy Storage

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Ice Energy (Windsor, Colo.) for developing and commercializing an elegant energy storage system that can mitigate summer peak demands for cooling that strain electricity grids and increase GHG emissions by requiring the use of inefficient gas-fired peakers. Designed to work with refrigerant-based direct expansion AC systems common to small and medium-sized commercial buildings, the firm's Ice Bear system freezes 450 gallons of water at night, when demand is low and electricity is cheaper. During peak demand periods, usually from noon to 6 pm, "the Ice Bear unit replaces the energy intensive compressor of the building's air conditioning unit," according to Ice Energy's website. According to VentureBeat.com, "Ice Energy initially started out marketing its product to big-box retailers like Target [then] shifted its strategy to utilities, signing deals with Austin Energy, Toronto Hydro and several Southern California utilities that will install 50 megawatts' worth of the storage systems." In 2010, Ice Energy achieved a number of financing and marketing milestones, including raising $24 million in third round financing from TIAA-CREF, Good Energies and others.