Virtual power plant developer Maplewell Energy and Urban Electric Power, a manufacturer of zinc batteries, are teaming up on a virtual power plant (VPP) program for commercial and industrial customers. The Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) model will utilize UEP’s turnkey battery energy storage system and Maplewell’s energy management system (EMS), JANiiT, to provide C&I customers with demand charge management, demand response, and other grid services with load shifting, shedding, and modulation.
“Several other players in the industry are focused on the utilities’ needs. We are committed to behind-the-meter optimization to serve our customers’ needs and objectives of their operation,” said Matt Irvin, CEO & Co-Founder of Maplewell.
JANiiT provides real-time demand charge management and demand response for commercial and industrial buildings up to 250,000 square feet. JANiiT goes beyond a traditional building management or automation system to integrate forecasting, predictive control, and real-time, feedback-based optimization that is proactive instead of reactive.
“Maplewell’s software is the perfect fit for Urban Electric Power’s battery design. Their predictive analytics and control will allow our customers to tap into a broader range of energy asset management tools,” said Scott Macon, Urban Electric Power’s Chief Business Officer. “We’ve created a unified appliance that is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Urban Electric Power has given new life to the century-old technology of zinc manganese-dioxide battery cells — the chemistry of familiar household AA alkaline batteries. UEP batteries are rechargeable for 10 years or more. Unlike lithium batteries, the zinc alkaline batteries are certified by UL standards to pose no risk of thermal runaway, making them fire-safe for indoor installations.
“After an exhaustive review of battery technology, we chose to partner with Urban Electric Power because of their patented zinc-based technology, the low carbon impact of sourcing zinc compared to other minerals, and their material chemistry advantages within the C&I space,” Irvin said. “By pairing these two innovative technologies, we’ve gained a unique competitive advantage in our go-to-market.”
The partnership will begin with three pilot projects deployed this year.
— Solar Builder magazine