CEC, SMUD make investment on backup peak power

RICHMOND, B.C. - VRB Power Systems Inc. announces that the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) awarded funding towards the purchase of a 20kW x 9hr VRB Energy Storage System (VRB-ESS) to be installed at a major U.S. telecoms service provider’s telecommunication site in Sacramento, California.

The system will provide three hours of back-up power and additionally power the site for six hours during peak power times, shifting demand on the site from peak to off peak times.

The total contract value to VRB Power from this project will be approximately US$300,000 which will be borne equally by the CEC, SMUD and the customer.

The ability to provide both of these functions from the same system is a unique characteristic of VRB Power’s flow battery technology. Shifting demand from this site to off peak times will reduce peak demand on the local grid and potentially reduce the customer’s electricity charges by switching to Time of Use versus standard rate charges.

This project has attracted support and funding from CEC because of the potential to roll out similar systems in many other sites in California with the intention to shift a significant portion of the State’s peak demand to off peak times which is directly in line with California’s Energy Policy goals.

“This project demonstrates the economic value of energy storage and the Energy Commission is pleased to be funding this endeavour,” said Energy Commissioner Art Rosenfeld. "Additionally, with the technology to shift electrical load from peak to off peak, it has the potential to reduce demand on California’s electrical transmission grid at times when we most need it,” added Rosenfeld.

“Shifting peak demand to off peak times is fully in line with our corporate goals and is in the best interests of generators and consumers alike,” said Cliff Murley of SMUD. “We believe that there is significant potential to roll out energy storage in a number of key sites across our grid and beyond.”

“We are very pleased with this development,” said John Davis, Director of Sales for VRB Power. “This sale follows evaluation of our technology by this customer and the ability of our products to fulfill other roles in addition to providing reliable, long-life back-up power. The VRB-ESS offers customers a much more versatile product which can also generate revenues for them and separates us from our competitors.”

“In on grid sites, such as this one in Sacramento, electricity is substantially more expensive at peak times than at off peak times. We can significantly reduce the customer’s electricity charges by using the VRB-ESS to run the site during peak demand and then re-charging it at off peak times. In off grid sites we can significantly reduce diesel consumption by using the system to run the site for several hours each day. In both examples the VRB-ESS also serves to provide reliable, uninterruptible power should the main source of power fail.”

“These applications open up a large number of sites within the overall telecoms market where we believe only VRB Power can provide this solution. The customer has dozens of similar sites across California where our systems could potentially be deployed and hundreds of similar sites across North America. Additionally, other major telecoms service providers are in a similar position. The ability to shave peak demand also provides benefits to the local utilities, local electricity grids and ultimately consumers,” concluded Davis.


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