ACCESS (“Assisting Communities to Connect to Electric Sustainable Sources”) is a two year demonstration project based on the Isle of Mull in Argyll and Bute to test whether electric heating systems can be used to accurately track the output of a variable renewable generator, such as a run of river hydro scheme or wind turbine. VCharge, in partnership with Community Energy Scotland, SSE, Element Energy, and the Mull and Iona Community Trust are working to develop a new “virtual district heating” option for customers who can’t connect to gas or conventional district heating networks.
ACCESS supports local and national economic development by creating new markets for locally generated electricity in grid constrained areas. The project will trial a new system for balancing local renewable energy generation with local energy demand.
Learn more about the ACCESS project:
Working in concert with electric utility PPL and grid operator PJM, VCharge is controlling thousnads of electric thermal storage (ETS) heaters in Pennsylvania right now. We’re offering SmartBricks and SmartHydro upgrades to most major ceramic and hydronic systems and new ceramic and hydronic ETS systems for whole-house or room unit applications. All Pennsylvania VCharge customers save 25% on their heating bills as soon as they sign up, restoring their electric rates to prices close to their old special heating rates.
Located in the suburbs of Boston, Concord Light is a progressive small utility with a track record of smart grid innovation. VCharge began working with Concord Municipal Light Plant (CMLP) and their customers in late 2009. In early 2010 these first Concord homes became part of the first aggregated residential load to provide high-speed grid balancing services to a Grid Operator. This happened through an Alternative Technology Pilot program run by the New England Grid Operator ISO-NE, where VCharge was one of several pilot participants along with Beacon Power and A123 Batteries. By allowing Concord Light to purchase electricity for heaters only during the cheapest hours of the day, SmartBricks Technology has given Concord the ability to extend and improve their existing ETS program.
CMLP was awarded grant money from the Demonstration of Energy-Efficient Developments (DEED) Program to build upon its pilot project with VCharge’s technology during the winter of 2011. These funds have paved the way for an expansion of the project to nearly one MW of Transactive Load, capable of storing close to 5 MWh while also providing other smart grid benefits such as voltage monitoring and 15-minute energy-use reporting.
The Central Maine Power Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) rebate program has ended, but VCharge is still supporting efforts to get Maine off fossil fuels for home heating. Maine residents with thermal storage heat provide grid-balancing services to ISO New England, eliminate combustion and fuel storage in their homes, and lower our regional carbon footprint.