Whole Foods stores shifts load with energy storage - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Demand Management, Energy Storage  -  April 26, 2017

Battery project pilot yields results for Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market Inc. has deployed a new thermal energy storage solution at a store in Los Altos, Calif., that has demonstrated an ability to shift up to 1040 kWh of electricity load for up to 10 hours a day over several months. 

The refrigeration battery solution is a product of Axiom Energy, which said in a news release about the pilot project that it has demonstrated consistent, daily electricity load-shifting by offsetting electricity used by refrigeration compressors and condensers to off peak times. The system also provides real-time information about its performance through an integrated cloud monitoring platform that delivers enterprise-level monitoring and analytics, historical data and real-time key performance indicators such as kilowatt-hours shifted, peak kilowatts reduced and battery charge level. 


"We are proud to be leading our industry by being the first to use such an innovative technology to shift our large refrigeration-based energy loads to off-peak hours," Whole Foods Market director of sustainability and facilities Tristam Coffin said in a statement. "Whole Foods has a reputation for piloting and implementing sustainable solutions that also improve facility operations. This pilot is consistent with these efforts."

Refrigeration represents up to 55% of an average supermarket's electricity consumption, according to Axiom; the company believes that by shifting electricity demand to off-peak hours, supermarket owners can take advantage of lower night-time rates to reduce a store's expensive on-peak electricity demand by up to 40%.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has also been testing the technology.

According to the news release, the system was installed at the Whole Foods store as a passive retrofit without modification of the existing refrigeration system or reprogramming of controls. The system represents one of a number of energy storage projects Whole Foods is engaged with as the company explores new energy management strategies.

"Right now it's a very market-specific incentive-driven technology, but we're seeing the costs come down dramatically, and there's an ongoing conversation about the value stack from storage growing over time," global director of energy management Aaron Daly recently told Smart Energy Decisions. 

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