Energy can be stored many ways, the most common being in batteries. Concentrated Solar Power projects store excess heat from the sun in molten salt to power turbines at night. Pumped hydro uses excess energy to pump water uphill into a holding reservoir to be released when needed to turn the turbines. Using cheap power to cool liquids at night cuts costs for air conditioning during the day.
Ice Energy and CALMAC are leaders in cooled energy storage. Both have been profitable for years. CALMAC helps big buildings cut peak electricity costs while Ice Energy works with utilities and it paid by them for storing energy and turning off A/C compressors and using the stored cooling instead.These systems are designed for large buildings and can be retrofitted into existing systems.
Margins are good for the two dominant providers of cooled liquid storage, which uses low-priced nighttime electricity to freeze or cool a liquid and then utilizes the chilled liquid to help offset electric air conditioning loads when power prices peak during the day.
“We are generally earning margins in the 25% to 30% range and that is unusual in the storage industry,” said Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins. “For most of the companies, especially in the lithium ion space, the cost is not competitive yet and they have to price their product at no margin.”