Irvine Ranch WD Partners with Private Company on Energy Storage

The Irvine Ranch Water District and the clean tech energy storage company Advanced Microgrid Solutions today announced a public-private partnership to install the largest network of energy storage systems at a public water agency in the nation.

The grid support project will enable Irvine Ranch to store energy, making it available to reduce demand from the grid when requested by the utility without interrupting water treatment operations. The project also will reduce the need for additional supply from fossil fuel generation in a region challenged by the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

It is estimated that the system will save IRWD more than $500,000 per year and help stabilize and balance demand on the strapped Southern California electrical grid. These energy savings advance IRWD’s sustainability efforts.

“Our agency has stepped forward with an innovative solution designed to protect customers while helping to reduce and better balance Southern California’s energy demands,” said IRWD Board President Mary Aileen Matheis. “This battery storage system – the largest in the nation – provides significant cost savings, enhanced grid stability and contributes to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller carbon footprint.”

The partnership allows IRWD to address one of California’s great environmental challenges – the “water/energy nexus.” Water and energy use are inextricably intertwined in that the pumping, treatment and distribution of water requires significant amounts of electricity. Public water agencies throughout the state are exploring how best to smooth high energy demands, decrease costs and reduce their carbon footprints.

“We’re proud to partner with IRWD on such an advanced, clean energy project,” said Susan Kennedy, CEO of AMS. “This energy storage system builds on IRWD’s sustainability and efficiency commitment, taking it to a new level in tackling the water-energy nexus.”

The 7 MW / 34 MWh network will utilize Tesla batteries, installed at 11 of IRWD’s largest and most energy-intensive facilities, as part of a major grid modernization project for Southern California Edison. The facilities that will utilize the batteries include three water treatment and recycling plants, a deep aquifer treatment system, a groundwater desalter facility and six high-energy pumping stations. The energy storage systems will be linked together as a network providing IRWD facility managers real time visibility and operational flexibility in responding to utility requests for demand reduction.

The IRWD-AMS Project is supported by a 10-year power-purchase agreement with SCE. Under that agreement, AMS will design, finance, install and operate energy storage systems at IRWD facilities and manage requests from SCE for load reduction at IRWD’s facilities when needed to balance the grid.

“Our utility-scale contracts make possible the realization of guaranteed savings and accomplishment for organizations – particularly public water agencies such as IRWD – with serious energy and emissions reduction goals,” added Kennedy.