- A small California water utility is integrating energy storage into its operations, a plan designed to reduce its peak demand, lower energy costs and keep facilities running in the event of a power outage, PV Magazine reports.
- Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA), which supplies water to an area of about 242 square miles, will install approximately 3.5 MW of storage at its regional water-recycling facilities and pump stations in Southern California.
- The project will utilize Tesla's PowerPack and is expected to reduce total energy costs for IEUA by 5% to 10%.
While still a relatively small proposal, IEUA is calling it a "landmark water-energy project" with the potential to keep costs down and the H2O flowing.
“We are proud of our investments in energy efficiency, renewable generation and sustainable water management practices,” said IEUA Board President Terry Catlin. “Energy storage is the key to maximizing the value of those investments, allowing us to use our resources more efficiently, reduce costs for our customers and participate in building a more resilient electric grid for the whole region.”
IEUA said storage systems will range from 150 kW to 1,250 kW, and will be custom-designed to optimize the utility's on-site generation, which includes solar, wind and biogas.The energy stored will be used when prices are higher, moderating peak charges, or in the event of an outage.
IEUA estimated it would reduce peak demand by up to 14% with the storage, and could reduce total energy costs by up to 10%. The utility tapped Advanced Microgrid Solutions to design and develop the project, which will use Tesla's PowerPack systems.
“Tackling the water-energy nexus head on takes that leadership to a whole new level," said AMS CEO Susan Kennedy. "This groundbreaking project is designed to optimize energy resources in the management, treatment and distribution of water while enhancing the reliability and resiliency of both the electric grid and water management systems.”
This is not the first significant energy project for the utility. In 2010, IEUA said it installed the largest fuel cell system powered by renewable biogas in the world, and reduced its energy consumption by nearly 25% with aggressive energy efficiency measures.
“We’ve invested heavily in clean, efficient resources,” IEUA's Catlin said. “Using energy storage to optimize those resources and dynamically control consumption is the next crucial step forward in IEUA’s strategic energy plan to go ‘Gridless’ by 2020 with almost no capital outlay by the Agency.”