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GreenSmith launches Backup Battery for Grid

Now here is something that can be used today and not spend a kaboodle of
money to get it implemented!

GreenSmith launches Backup Battery for Grid

December 5, 2008 – Exclusive By Emma Ritch, Cleantech Group
Washington D.C.-based GreenSmith Energy Management Systems unveiled technology it says
can solve the peak demand problems of U.S. utilities.

CEO Rodney Smith said the company has designed a battery control and management system
that, when paired with lithium ion battery GreenSmith acquired from a manufacturer
overseas, can store 20 kilowatt-hours at a time and provide between 3,000 and 4,000
full-discharge cycles.

The idea is that utilities could charge the battery when it’s cheaper to produce energy,
such as in the middle of the night, and could discharge that energy onto the grid when
it’s most expensive to produce power.

Smith said ideal circumstances would be to use the battery during peak demand instead of
firing up a peak power plant, which is more expensive to run. The unit could help reduce
the need for additional power plants and prevent utilities from losing excess power

“Utilities are far more receptive to distributed storage technologies than they are to
smart grid, and for a reason,” Smith told the Cleantech Group. “Grid replacement is like
trying to replace the air traffic control system. You have to put a lot of money into it
before you see any rewards from it. With our technology, you get the benefit right away.”

The technology can be paired with intermittent renewable energy sources, such as wind and
solar, to better align power supply with power demand, Smith said.

That field is also being targeted by companies such as ZBB Energy, which has contracted
with the Australian government to accelerate development of the company’s zinc-bromine
storage systems for renewable energy projects (see ZBB gets Australian contract for
renewable energy storage and ZBB, Zest in energy storage deal).

Tyngsboro, Mass.-based Beacon Power (Nasdaq: BCON) is promoting its multiple-flywheel
systems to supply or absorb electricity, giving extra stability to a grid that’s
experiencing demand or supply peaks (see Beacon slows flywheel storage plans).

According to the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, there is a strong economic
case for flywheel installations to improve grid stability, as evidenced by the New York
Independent System Operator and the PJM Interconnection.

Last year, Windsor, Colo.-based Ice Energy revealed a device to shift up to 95 percent of
air-conditioning load to off-peak hours while providing full cooling performance (see Ice
Energy cools down power demand).

Other technology is attempting to use molten salt for energy storage (see Concentrated
solar gets salty and Cleantech Group picks winners and losers in concentrated solar

GreenSmith’s systems are designed to be managed from a central location, either
programmed to optimize cheap energy price or manually controlled. Utilities, regional
transmission agencies and co-ops in the U.S. are the current market, but GreenSmith
eventually plans to target global markets, especially those with intermittent access to
the electric grid.

Consumers aren’t the target for GreenSmith, although Smith said the devices could be
modified for home use.

GreenSmith is in talks with several utilities and expects a pilot project with a utility
to begin operating in about two months. The company plans to produce commercially by
mid-2009, with tens of thousands of units sold that year.

After that, GreenSmith expects to sell hundreds of thousands of units to utilities a
year. A large utility would probably use about 3,000 units in a pilot test and as many as
a million units in full deployment, whereas a small utility might seek between 100 and
1,000 for a pilot, Smith said.

Each unit would cost about $10,000, minus volume discounts, which Smith said produces an
energy cost of less than 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

GreenSmith has raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from private investors. The
company is currently raising a Series A round led by Blue Lagoon Capital, but Smith
declined to reveal the size of the round, saying that reports of a $20 million round were

The company, which Smith said has a “handful” of employees, originally pursued smart grid
technology when it was founded in 2007 as an offshoot of think-tank Intelligent Power
Unit. Smith decided energy storage presented a more lucrative business model because it
was faster to market.

“We thought, what if instead of trying to fight peak you could shift peak?” Smith said.
“So we decided to focus on storage.”

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5 Responses to “GreenSmith launches Backup Battery for Grid”

  1. Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog Says:

    Hi Linda – This is great news. As I was reading this I thought of how if this becomes popular, the GreenSmith company will also be creating more jobs. It looks like a win-win to me.

  2. wilson Says:

    Another great eco-green invention, Linda. I loved the concept, but the $10,000 is way to high for citizen like us…

    wilsons last blog post..The Alternative Way to Reduce High Cholesterol Level!

  3. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … Yep! I believe that it will become popular and quickly.

    Hi Wilson … Yes, the price is a little steep but maybe the price will come down once it is proven on the grid. Don’t hold your breath!

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  5. Linda Says:

    Hi Lara … We have a deal!

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