“On the heels of the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency calling for cuts to emissions, Ice Energy contacted OWC to tout our benefits through the media and make sure we are part of the conversation moving forward. A feature story in The New York Times, numerous other articles, a major industry award and most importantly two major contracts later, we’re very pleased.”

–Senior executive,
Ice Energy

the challenge

Efforts to decrease greenhouse gases (GHG) in California and beyond are at an all-time high. California’s landmark global warming law, known as AB32, calls for cutting emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020. A plan proposed in 2014 by the California Air Resources Board would double reductions after 2020. And, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed requiring the nation’s power plants to cut emissions 30 percent by 2030. The net result of these initiatives was to heighten awareness and create opportunities for companies, including Ice Energy, offering unique solutions. The energy storage manufacturer turned to OWC to raise awareness and generate contracts for its technology that helps utilities and businesses comply with regulations and reduce both environmental footprints and operating costs.


OWC’s ongoing information campaign, which has included a feature story in The New York Times and numerous other high-profile articles, has increased the visibility of the company’s thermal energy storage as a solution to utilities that must support renewables integration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ice Energy was awarded 16 contracts from Southern California Edison (SCE) to provide 25.6 megawatts of storage in November 2014 and signed a five-year contract with Riverside Public Utilities to provide 5 megawatts of storage in March 2015.

“Mike Hopkins sells an ice maker that stores energy. It’s not sexy technology, he notes. But his Santa Barbara-based business, Ice Energy, is growing fast. … The state is stepping in to boost market demand. The California Public Utilities Commission in October 2013 set a target for utilities to bring 1,325 megawatts — more than half the capacity of the closed San Onofre nuclear plant — of additional storage online by 2024.”

“Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins explained to POWER that the stored ice is normally dispatched to provide cooling in place of the AC compressors. When combined with solar PV, however, the two systems can work together to serve demand more efficiently, with excess solar generation being used to create ice, and the Ice Bear providing cooling in late afternoon and early evening hours as solar generation tapers off.”

“In addition to conventional batteries, a large slice of the utility’s solicitation was won by Ice Energy, a company that installs rooftop devices that look a bit like air-conditioners but are used to freeze water in 450-gallon pots. The devices, called Ice Bears, run at night when external temperatures are lower so making ice is easier. During peak hours, the ice is used for space cooling, requiring only the electricity needed to blow the air around.”