- Maplewell Energy, a virtual power plant developer, and Urban Electric Power, a manufacturer of rechargeable zinc batteries, have announced a partnership to provide commercial and industrial customers with a battery energy storage system combined with Maplewell’s energy management system.
- The partnership will deliver demand charge management, demand response and other grid services with load shifting, shedding and modulation, the companies said.
- “This is a way that we can alleviate some of the peak demand on the distribution system and be able to dispatch these virtual power plants using . . . these batteries that we have installed at customer sites,” Matt Irvin, CEO and co-founder of Maplewell Energy, said in an interview.
As electricity demand grows with electrification, utilities’ distribution systems are taking on greater load and requests to interconnect new power sources face increasing delays, Irvin said.
The Maplewell Energy-Urban Electric Power partnership plans to enter markets with aged infrastructure that must meet increased demand brought on by electrification of transportation and utilities facing the need for significant investments in distibution, Irvin said.
“They’ve learned that if I can add some battery capacity and intelligently dispatch those peak events I can defer these upgrades on my system,” Irvin said.
The Urban Electric Power battery brings a zinc technology that’s safe for indoor installations and urban areas and does not run a risk of long-running and hard-to-extinguish fires that characterize lithium-ion batteries, he said. The combination is a “winning strategy” to unlock an opportunity with virtual power plants and tie into utilty programs such as non-wire solutions or non-wire alternatives, he said.
Urban Electric Power says it has advanced the technology of zinc manganese-dioxide battery cells — the chemistry of familiar household alkaline batteries — with patented chemistry enhancements that make Urban Electric Power batteries rechargeable for 10 years or longer.
Maplewell is developing virtual power plants in North America for commercial and industrial customers through a model known as energy-as-a-service.
JANiiT, Maplewell’s energy management system, provides real-time demand charge management and demand response for commercial and industrial buildings up to 250,000 square feet, providing demand response revenue and demand charge savings for customers, Maplewell said.
Scott Macon, Urban Electric Power’s chief business officer, said Maplewell’s software is the “perfect fit” for Urban Electric Power’s battery design. Its predictive analytics and control will help Urban Electric Power’s customers tap into a broader range of energy asset management tools, he said.
The partnership will begin with three pilot projects expected to be deployed this year.