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Author Topic: Batteries  (Read 9443 times)

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2016, 04:03:49 pm »
Feb 24, 2016

Authors Margaret McCall Associate

Water Heaters: As Sexy as a Tesla?  ???

How grid-interactive water heaters are joining the battery revolution

Of all the new tech emerging on the energy landscape, water heaters seem an unlikely contender. Alongside battery players like Tesla, with its Model X and Powerwall, water heaters look like even more of a stretch. However, the growing industry consensus is that grid-interactive water heaters have serious potential. They just might be the unexpected battery in your basement.

Why the buzz about water heaters?

Water heaters and batteries have one fundamental feature in common: they both store energy, batteries as charge and water heaters as heat. This ability to store energy gives water heaters flexibility. For example, they can be heated at night when power is cheap without jeopardizing your ability to take a hot shower in the morning. 

Grid-interactive water heaters (GIWH) are electric water heaters that the grid operator or the local utility can control in real time (or the customer, automated software, or a third party could control them in response to granular retail price signals from the utility). This controllability makes a GIWH valuable for more than just hot showers. For example, in addition to heating water when power is cheap, it can also shut down during yearly system peaks, help integrate renewables, and provide services to the electric grid like frequency regulation. Optimizing water heaters like this can significantly reduce carbon emissions and, as explained below, create billions of dollars in value.

Better yet, this functionality is not dependent on future technology: any electric water heater with a tank—be it old-school electric resistance or newfangled heat pump—can become grid-interactive. Making modifications to an existing water heater to install a grid-connected communications device takes a couple of hours and could cost a few hundred dollars. However, building in grid-interactive capabilities at the factory only costs a few dollars and provides much more value to the grid and to the customer.

A high-value source of demand flexibility

In our 2015 report, The Economics of Demand Flexibility, RMI analyzed the potential of flexible loads to provide significant economic value to the grid, finding at least $13 billion per year from common residential loads like water heaters and air conditioners. We found that water heaters, especially, have the potential to be an easily-tapped and high-value source of this flexibility.

A new study by the Brattle Group provides an in-depth exploration of the economic benefits of GIWHs. The fact that the study was jointly commissioned by utilities, environmental advocates, and industry groups highlights the diversity of groups interested in the potential of GIWHs. Brattle analyzed the potential of multiple scenarios, calculating that up to $200 in net system benefits may be realized annually for every GIWH participant. Ultimately, the authors concluded that GIWHs are a resource with significant opportunity for reductions in both costs and emissions, and one whose operational viability is already being demonstrated in pilot projects around the country—an exciting endorsement for the mild-mannered water heater.

Full article:

Agelbert COMMENT: Good article but here's the state electric rate board elephant in the demand flexibility room.

Most power companies use demand flexibility ONLY for their benefit and offer the customer no savings from lower rates at low demand times. I live in Vermont and that is the case with GMP (Green Mountain Power). A glance at their different rates gives blatant evidence that they continue to give lower rates to industries that actually DO contribute to higher peak loads! This volume pricing 20th century antiquated approach is wrongheaded in the light of our climate change and carbon footprint crisis. But they insist it is "good for the economy". Sure, if you ignore he externalized pollution costs!

Meanwhile, GMP is partnering with Tesla to sell us the Powerwall as a back up to power failure without offering us a NICKEL (i.e. a penny or so off the normal hourly rate of about 15 cents per Kwh) in lower rates savings if we use an installed Powerwall during off peak hours to run our water heater or wash clothes, etc.

This type of power company ONE WAY PROFITS street is precisely what you at RMI should address more often. As your article points out, it's in their best interests to give lower rates to non-corporate customers during off peak times because the power company can then avoid buying extra power that they aren't generating or budgeting for some added plant and equipment. But, in most places in the USA, Vermont being one of them, the stranglehold of power companies on the state rate setting boards guarantees that no variable rates for residential customers are available. This is 20th century 'greed is good' biosphere damage promoting stupidity that favors the burning of fossil fuels for peak loads. This is insane.

Please contact GMP and let them know that many customers (that WILL NOT buy that Powerwall if it's just a glorified backup generator to be used for a few hours a year) WOULD buy the Powerwall they are marketing if we were offered a penny or lower hourly rate discount from our rather high fixed rate during off peak times. Better yet, contact Tesla. I'm sure they will get the appropriate message  to GMP, if you know what I mean.  ;)

GMP could provide flexible residential rates that if they wanted to. They are just too greedy to. As your article makes clear, that does not make economic or energy sense. I'm sure Elon Musk would agree.

Green Mountain Power of Vermont Rates:

RESIDENTIAL = 14.852 cents per kwh
(that's straight off my most recent power bill WITHOUT the added charges)

INDUSTRIAL   =   9.88   cents per kwh     

Green Mountain Power rates paraded as  slightly lower than the other area rates in a New England Comparison Rate Chart

There is no excuse for these power companies to not provide flexible rates to residential customers or to provide the ridiculously low rates to the industrial customers that significantly add to peak load demand.   
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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