Axiom takes Leap to unlock grid services
April 2, 2019
To generate benefits for grocery stores and cold storage facilities, Axiom Exergy is working with fellow Californian company Leap to unlock grid services revenue for its customers, including three Whole Foods Market facilities in northern California.
Axiom now uses its refrigeration battery platform to provide two services – energy bill management and grid services – to its customers simultaneously. The refrigeration battery platform enables real-time control of a grocery store's power consumption using a cloud platform, predictive analytics and a thermal energy storage retrofit.
The platform actively manages the grocery store's power consumption by intelligently modulating its refrigeration systems. It intelligently charges by freezing tanks of salt water when power demand and utility rates are low, then it autonomously discharges the cooling to offset refrigeration consumption when electricity demand and prices are high, lowering the user's utility bills.
During peak hours when demand for energy is high and the grid is stressed, grid operators in California and other markets also provide direct financial incentives to reduce power consumption to balance the grid. The grid services application lets its customers tap into these direct financial incentives for the first time. Grid services participation requires no additional work from the user, and revenue reports are accessible through a web portal.
"We are pleased to expand our use of innovative platforms like Axiom Exergy's to unlock new value streams and increase sustainability in our stores," said Tristam Coffin, director at Whole Foods Market. "After a previous successful installation, we are happy to continue partnering with Axiom to implement more cutting-edge power management strategies."
To make grid service participation possible, Axiom is working with energy technology company Leap, which serves as an aggregator of flexible loads to the California Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) market. Alongside Axiom, Leap works with other flexible loads such as EV chargers, battery storage systems and smart thermostats to form a virtual power plant. Utilities pay Leap's virtual power plant to reduce load on demand, and Leap then compensates its load providers for their participation.
As a load provider, Axiom receives signals from Leap's Dex distributed energy exchange API, bids flexible capacity into the market on an hourly basis based on available capacity, and delivers load reductions by modulating its customers' thermal systems accordingly.
"We are always looking for new, innovative partners who can provide flexible loads on our platform," said Thomas Folker, CEO of Leap. "Given that commercial and industrial customers spend 28% of their electricity on thermal services, we're thrilled to partner with Axiom who can unlock these loads and make them dispatchable for the first time."
The addition of grid services follows Axiom Exergy's Series A funding, which included new investments from Shell Ventures and Evergy Ventures, formerly GXP Investments. The news also follows multiple deployments of the refrigeration battery platform for major grocery retailers, each of which can autonomously reduce a store's peak load by up to 160kW for eight hours without any changes to staff behaviour or daily operations.
"With so many grocery stores and cold storage facilities operating on razor-thin margins, we are thrilled to offer a service that creates a low-risk and logical revenue stream," said Amrit Robbins, CEO and co-founder of Axiom Exergy. "Sixty to seventy per cent of a typical grocery store's electricity bill is driven by power, or when energy is consumed. With this robust platform, we can leverage our customers' existing thermal systems to reduce their utility bills, unlock new grid services revenue streams, and protect against expensive food spoilage during power outages throughout their portfolio of buildings."
Axiom Exergy provides active power management services to portfolios of commercial and industrial buildings with large thermal loads. Its cloud-based platform uses predictive analytics and optional thermal energy storage capacity to shape a load profile intelligently by modulating refrigeration, cooling and/or heating systems. With expertise in thermal systems, power grid dynamics, building power management, machine learning and computational thermal modelling, Axiom provides a turnkey power management platform that generates meaningful value for users with large thermal loads. It also offers fully financed power management as a service so its customers can receive the benefits with no up-front cost.
Leap provides a marketplace for grid services that allows every connected device to help balance the grid, regardless of capacity, availability or location, with one integration. Leap is based in San Francisco and backed by well known energy investors. The company was founded by Thomas Folker and Remco van den Elzen, entrepreneurs with track records in energy and technology.