CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world. Subscribe today!


Clean Power Restaurant_view

Published on October 15th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer

4

California’s Hospitality Industry Could Provide Renewable Energy Storage

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

October 15th, 2010 by  


Along with the recent burst of six new solar licenses granted by the California Energy Commission since late August, the California Independent System Operator is beginning to consider a variety of novel ways to integrate the record percentage of renewable resources into the grid.

With the 20% Renewable Energy Standard mandate expected to be on the grid by 2013, and an ongoing solar ramp-up to get to 33% by 2020, California now joins countries like Finland and US regions like the Pacific Northwest that are considering distributed storage to gain more control during times of over-generation, congestion and extreme system ramps.

One option is to develop more distributed storage for renewable power in everything from electric vehicles and water heaters to rooftop ice cooling systems. In the Bonneville Power Administration’s Pacific Northwest, for example 4.3 million water heaters that can store 2,600 megawatt-hours by allowing the storage temperature to vary by five degrees are to be used in this way to store energy to feed back to the grid on demand.


To this end the CPUC recently invested $1.5 million of California Solar Initiative R&D money in a co-generation start-up making solar electricity and solar hot water for industrial and commercial customers like food processors, restaurants, hotels and breweries. Potentially, the Cogenra Solar co-generation systems could provide distributed storage for when there is excess solar and wind power on the California grid.

These businesses would then be able to send that energy back to the grid on demand. In this novel approach, California would become more like Finland, which is now able to supply fully 30% of its energy from industrial heat and power co-generation by large industrial users like paper mills.

But an additional alternative being considered by Cal-ISO would be to encourage variable resources such as wind and solar power to take payments in exchange for curtailing output. Some newly wind-powered states which had too much wind power on the grid at low demand times forced developers to give away their energy for free or below cost.

This puts California’s recent investment of $1.5 million in co-generation distributed storage in perspective. It might seem like an extravagance for a state that is short of cash. But it makes financial sense, instead of spending state money on non-generation of energy, by paying wind and solar companies to shut down when they produce more than needed. California’s many industrial businesses and even smaller commercial users like restaurants and hotels would then be able to make money by supplying power to the smart grid. That would be a very novel win-win.

Susan Kraemer@Twitter

Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

Tags: , , , , , ,


About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Pingback: TXU is First to Offer Free Night-Time Electricity Rate Plan - CleanTechnica

  • http://www.calsolareng.com California Solar Engineering

    I am really liking where this conversation is going- yes renewable are important but they also make the conversation about storage and still being able to meet peak energy demands even more essential. Glad to hear that great minds are already at work.

  • http://www.dimensionbuildlv.com remodeling

    It still sounds like there are a few things to get sorted out. Like what to do with extra energy during the day and be able to use it at night. Potential the benefits would be enormous if California could light most of it’s streets and parks at night off of renewable energy.

  • Pingback: Renewable Energy Guide

Back to Top ↑