The companies will collaborate to install the storage system as a field demonstration in order to reduce operating costs related to refrigeration and improve resilience across Walmart’s portfolio of stores. The demonstration project is being completed with the support of two of California’s largest electrical utilities and will leverage the store’s existing refrigeration system to “store cooling” at night by freezing tanks of salt water when energy costs are low. When electricity demand and thus on-peak electricity prices increase during the afternoon, the Refrigeration Battery “discharges” like a battery, providing cooling services for seven hours, reducing the store’s expensive on-peak electricity demand by up to 40 percent.
The Refrigeration Battery is a non-invasive, modular retrofit that operates in parallel with existing refrigeration systems to shift daytime energy loads to less expensive off-peak hours. It can also provide backup cooling to reduce uninsured food spoilage during power outages, an expensive and growing problem for supermarket owners. The turnkey installation of the Refrigeration Battery does not require physical or programming modifications of existing equipment. Axiom Exergy’s fully-financed “Storage-as-a-Service” model eliminates up-front cost and technology risk, enabling supermarkets and commercial buildings with high refrigeration-based energy loads to reduce both energy costs and operational risk from day one.
Refrigeration represents up to 55 percent of an average supermarket’s electricity consumption, and by shifting electricity demand to off-peak hours, building owners can take advantage of lower night-time rates to reduce their energy bills. Walmart and the supporting utilities have contracted with KW Engineering to provide third-party measurement & verification for the field demonstration project.
“Walmart is actively evaluating different energy storage technologies that have the potential to reduce our operating costs and improve stores’ resilience during power outages and extreme weather events across our portfolio” said Mark Vanderhelm, VP Energyof Walmart. “This demonstration is consistent with these efforts as well as Walmart's commitment to fostering innovation - we are excited to review the potential of Axiom’s solution to these issues.”
Ryan Adelman, Chief Commercial Officer at Axiom Exergy, added that at a time when the California legislature is pushing for more renewables and energy storage in the state, and in the wake of the Aliso Canyon Gas Disaster and PG&E’s recent announcement to retire Diablo Canyon nuclear facility, public sentiment is rapidly moving away from continued reliance on nuclear and fossil fuels. To remedy power shortages during peak hours, regulators and utilities are dramatically increasing funding for energy storage which is considered both a critical enabler of renewable capacity and a cost-effective method to balance supply and demand on the grid.
The demonstration will illustrate how refrigerated facilities like supermarkets can significantly reduce their electricity demand during on-peak hours and how utilities in California can use Axiom Energy’s solution to help reduce strain on the grid by deploying a low-cost, long-duration, behind-the-meter storage solution. It is funded by utility members of California’s Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council (ETCC) whose mission is to provide a forum for members to exchange information, opportunities and results from their Emerging Technologies activities. ETCC efforts are focused on identification, assessment, and supporting commercialization of energy-reducing technologies.
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