Quick Energy Efficiency News: Cool Stuff from NRG & Ice…Cement, Steel and Energy Savings…Massachusetts Behaves…NY Goes Solar

July 7, 2015
Quick Energy Efficiency News this week…NRG Energy & Ice Energy pair in energy storage deal..Saving energy, money and water with waste heat…Opower’s behavioral program cuts energy costs by $70M in Mass…NY makes big solar gains.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The energy storage deals keep coming in California, a state that requires utilities secure 1.3 GW of the resource by 2020. The latest pairing is between NRG Energy, a megasize generation and innovation company and Ice Energy, a technology leader that uses ice to provide energy storage.

NRG and Ice Energy will supply 25.6 MW of behind-the-meter energy storage to Southern California Edison (SCE) under 20-year terms, using Ice Energy’s Ice Bear technology. The storage will provide peak energy reductions.

“As one of California’s largest providers of renewable and traditional energy generation as well as electric vehicle fast charging solutions, energy storage is a natural next step for NRG to help meet the state’s energy needs,” said John Chillemi, president of NRG Energy’s West Region. “We look forward to combining our experience in delivering customer-driven clean energy solutions with Ice Energy and their innovative technology to provide clean and reliable distributed energy storage products to this bellwether state.”

The project will include 1,800 Ice Bear units installed in Orange County beginning in early 2016, pending approval from the state public utilities commission.

The Ice Bear technology can be attached to commercial rooftop AC units. The Ice Bears freeze ice at night when demand for power is low and capacity is abundant, and then use stored ice during the day to provide cooling instead of AC compressors.

In all, NRG is set to  supply more than 200 MW to California’s growing preferred resources market.


Echogen Power Systems has signed a licensing agreement with Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction to commercialize Echgoen’s supercritical carbon dioxide waste heat to power technology.

“These products drive value for clients of Doosan Heavy Industries through a unique combination of a lower cost per unit of electricity produced, compact footprint, higher energy recovery from the waste heat stream, and the ability to generate power from a wider range of heat sources than competing technologies available in the marketplace today, and to do so without the use of increasingly scarce water resources,” said Phil Brennan, CEO, Echogen Power Systems.

The Echogen system offers low cost power from the exhaust streams of industrial processes, which is especially beneficial to cement and steel manufacturers that operate  “on razor thin margins,”  added Timothy Held, chief technology officer.

The global market is estimated to be $1.8 billion per year for power equipment in the cement, steel, and plant sectors combined, according to Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, which hopes to win $89.96 million of the market’s annual sales.


Behavioral energy efficiency continues to prove itself, this time with news from Opower and National Grid that Massachusetts electric and gas customers saved $70 million through Opower‘s Home Energy Reports.

The utility reduced its electric use by 300 million kWh and gas usage by 18 million therms through the program.

“We want to provide customers the information they need to make informed choices about energy consumption,” said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts. “As the results indicate, this program has helped our customers achieve amazing savings. ”

National Grid was the first utility on the East Coast to use the Opower program, which pairs behavioral science with data analytics to encourage consumers to save energy.


Not surprising to hear that New York is experiencing tremendous growth in solar — 300 percent from 2011 to 2014, which is twice the rate of U.S. solar growth, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

As of the end of last year, the state had installed 314.48 MW of solar. In addition, as of May 2015, more than 304 MW of solar photovoltaic was under contract, not yet installed, with an additional 65.6 MW of applications accepted, not yet contracted.

Maps showing megawatts of solar capacity for counties in each region and a chart showing pre-NY-Sun versus post-NY-Sun figures can be found here nyserda.ny.gov/solarcapacity. New York has a $1 billion solar incentive program underway called NY-Sun Initiative.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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