Rhode Island receives grant to study refrigeration energy management

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Last week Axiom Cloud  announced that it was selected as a subrecipient of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) to help grocery stores strategically use energy in a way that reduces their costs, while lowering strain on the electrical grid during peak usage times. 

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) provided the funding to The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) through its Building Technologies Proving Ground awards, which aim to validate innovative building technologies for commercial buildings and the public sector.  

OER, Axiom Cloud, and National Grid will partner to test how an artificial intelligence software platform can provide intelligent forecasting, modeling, and control of refrigeration loads at grocery stores.

A grocery store’s refrigeration system is its top consumer of electricity, and historically these loads have been inflexible. With the more than 2,000 stores across Rhode Island and Massachusetts, a load shifting potential of 40 to 100 MW may be possible if refrigeration loads were managed, said the companies in a press release.

“Software is transforming retail grocers’ relationships with their refrigeration systems,” said Amrit Robbins, CEO of Axiom Cloud. “By leveraging hundreds of real-time data streams to build a digital model of each refrigeration system, our Virtual Battery app is able to predict when building and refrigeration loads will peak and manage refrigeration loads accordingly, without any negative impact on food safety or quality.”

Interested grocery stores will be enrolled in National Grid’s ConnectedSolutions program, which will allow them to earn revenue by reducing their energy consumption during periods of high grid demand. Participating stores will also be alerted to predicted equipment outages and other energy efficiency opportunities. This grant will provide these services to selected grocers at no cost.

“Reducing energy consumption during peak days and adding more flexible loads to the grid is just one of the many ways in which National Grid is supporting the transition towards a cleaner energy landscape,” said John Isberg, VP Customer Sales & Solutions at National Grid.

Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis and is ongoing for National Grid grocery store and supermarket customers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Refrigeration energy management is on the docket for discussion at DISTRIBUTECH International, set for January 26-28, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. Register to attend.

“As Rhode Island works to meet its net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050, the state must continue to lead the nation in developing cost-effective, clean energy solutions that reduce energy consumption, increase grid reliability, and shrink our carbon footprint,” said State Energy Commissioner Nicholas Ucci.

“The Refrigeration Energy Management project will allow us to target the state’s grocery stores as a valuable source of flexible energy loads while providing crucial energy cost savings for these businesses,” Ucci added.  

“We are excited and ready to work with our public sector stakeholders to test out these innovative technologies for improving energy efficiency for homeowners, business owners, and state and local governments,” said EERE’s Weatherization & Intergovernmental Programs (WIP) Director AnnaMaria Garcia. “Without a doubt, our collaboration with state and local entities is pivotal to realizing the benefits of these advanced building technologies. Once these technologies have been demonstrated in the real world by these projects, our goal is that other state and local governments will adopt them in their communities. Then these innovative solutions can help drive economic growth.”

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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