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Southern California Municipal Utilities Explore Ice to Reduce Peak Demand from Air Conditioners
October 13, 2005

PASADENA— Eleven Southern California municipal electric utilities are considering a new twist on an old-fashioned coolant – ice – to help reduce peak electricity demand during hot summer months.

The 11 municipalities, which together serve 2 million customers, are members of the Southern California Public Power Authority Air conditioners are the root cause of California’s peak energy problem. During peak times on hot summer days, up to 70 percent of California’s peak electricity demand often comes from air conditioners, according to the California Energy Commission.

The municipal utilities are working with Ice Energy®to install 10 Ice Bear® air conditioners at test sites in Anaheim, Azusa, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Riverside, Los Angeles and within the Imperial Irrigation District. SCPPA is providing $100,000 to purchase and install the systems.

“Air conditioning contributes significantly to our system peak demand,” said Bill Carnahan, SCPPA executive director.

As mid-afternoon temperatures rise, so does customer demand for air conditioning. This peak demand calls into service more expensive power generators and congests the electric supply grid similar to how cars congest rush-hour freeways.

Ice Energy®has pioneered an economical, off-the-shelf energy-storage device that shifts an air conditioner’s demand for electricity from sweltering days to cool nights.

Residential and commercial customers continue to use air conditioners as they always have with Ice Energy’s air-conditioning technology. The difference is how air-conditioned comfort is provided and when energy is consumed.

Ice Energy’s concept is simple and reliable. Using lower-priced, off-peak electricity at night – instead of higher-priced peak electricity during the day -- the Ice Bear® air conditioner, which is designed for commercial buildings and larger homes, stores “cool” energy in the form of ice. In essence, Ice Energy’s products are cool thermal batteries that are charged at night and discharged during peak hours of the day.

When air conditioning is needed during the day, a small low-wattage pump replaces the traditional energy-consuming condensing unit and provides air-conditioned comfort to building occupants. “Shifting the load from on-peak to off-peak hours can significantly lower costs to our customers, conserve energy and reduce air pollution,” SCPPA’s Carnahan said. “Our review of Ice Energy’s technology shows that it can reduce a homeowners or business’s need for expensive on-peak electricity for air conditioning by up to 95 percent.”

Over the coming months, SCPPA officials will monitor how well the Ice Bear®operates in different climate zones and in buildings of various sizes.

“It’s cheaper to save a kilowatt of power than build a power plant to produce a kilowatt,” Carnahan said. “Ice Energy’s concept is simple. They didn’t have to do a lot of convincing for us to give it the go-ahead.”

Jeanette Meyer, marketing manager for SCPPA-member Burbank Water and Power, said, “We always work to be ahead of the curve on products that will benefit our customers. The comments have all been good about the Ice Bear® product – especially about its ability to reduce on-peak loads. “

Burbank already has installed an Ice Bear® air conditioner at a local fire station. Installation took only two days.

Glendale has installed a unit at the Glendale Sports Complex and at the Casa Verdugo Library next week.

“The SCPPA agreement is an important step in Ice Energy’s efforts to work with municipalities,” said Frank Ramirez, Ice Energy®CEO. “It also demonstrates SCPPA’s leadership in solving California’s peak electric demand problems.

“Demand-side management, energy efficiency, conservation and customer satisfaction are what California utilities look for in new technologies,” he continued. “Ice Energy®provides the first integrated demand-side management tool to reshape the peak demand curve and achieve energy efficiency and conservation objectives, while enhancing customer comfort.”

Later this year, Ice Energy®plans to introduce a smaller version of the Ice Bear® product for mainstream residential use.

Ice Energy®has received international recognition, including an Innovation Award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the World’s Best Technology Award.
(877) 5-ICEBEAR (877 542-3232)