World Property Journal – Commercial News, Irvine Edition
By Michael Gerrity
October 13, 2015
On the heels of mass consumer adoption of Tesla electric battery-powered cars, now large scale commercial developers are starting to take notice and convert their properties to hybrid electrical systems, as evidenced this week by Orange County California based Irvine Company. The Irvine Company’s new initiative will make them the world’s first major real estate company to create a fleet of hybrid-electric buildings powered by state-of-the-art energy storage systems from Tesla Energy. The company recently signed a memorandum of understanding for the ground-breaking environmental initiative with San Francisco-based Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS).
The Irvine Company–a very large scale California property developer, operator and owner with properties throughout coastal California–will institute a portfolio-wide program to install energy storage systems that will reduce peak-energy consumption from local utilities, ease the need for additional power plants, reduce electricity costs and provide back-up power during grid outages.
Large battery systems at each building–which take up the equivalent of about five parking spaces–will be charged during nonpeak hours and be used, when needed, for peak daytime use or in the event of a power failure. Stored energy initiatives such as this one are part of Southern California Edison’s (SCE’s) grid modernization plan. The first phase of the Irvine Company project–which will include up to 24 office buildings in Irvine– is expected to reduce peak demand in those buildings by 25% and provide SCE with up to 10 megawatts of reserve capacity, enough to supply power to 10,000 homes. The first energy storage units in Irvine are expected to be installed by the end of this year. "As a long-term owner, the Irvine Company takes great pride in being on the cutting edge of building design, sustainability and energy efficiency," said Rich Bluth, Irvine Company’s vice president of Energy Management. "Energy storage is a game-changer. It will allow building owners to participate in grid support and reduce costs while causing no disruption or discomfort to our customers, residents or guests." For the initial part of the Irvine Company project, AMS will team with renewable energy giant SunEdison to finance, install and operate Powerpack commercial battery systems procured from technology leader, Tesla Energy, including seamlessly switching the buildings to battery power whenever SCE signals that demand on the grid is too high. "We are thrilled to be working with the Irvine Company on a transforming its properties into fleets of the most advanced, hybrid-electric buildings in the world," said Susan Kennedy, chief executive officer of AMS. "This initiative creates value all the way around–for building owners, customers and utilities."
"SCE is tapping into the power of their own customers’ building load to manage the grid. This revolutionary partnership between a utility and its customers represents the future of the electric grid." AMS and SunEdison signed a Joint Development Agreement in July to finance and construct the projects. The AMS-SunEdison collaboration combines Advanced Microgrid’s innovative designs and technology partnerships with SunEdison’s development and financing expertise.
AMS, a Women-Owned Business Enterprise, donates a portion of the proceeds from every project to a microlending fund for women, minority and veteran-owned businesses. A portion of the proceeds from the AMS-Irvine Company project will be dedicated to microlending in the Orange County area.
The planned phase one rollout of the project will begin later this year, beginning with office buildings near the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. The rest of the Irvine Company portfolio will be evaluated after the first phase is complete.