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Irvine Company in groundbreaking energy initiative


Irvine Company is making history as the first major real estate company in the world to plan portfolio-wide use of energy storage.

The Irvine Company on Monday announced an initiative to become the world's first major real estate company to create a fleet of hybrid-electric buildings powered by state-of-the-art energy storage systems from Tesla Energy.

The company recently signed a memorandum of understanding for the ground-breaking environmental initiative with San Francisco-based Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS).

The Irvine Company, which has properties throughout coastal California, is launching a portfolio-wide program to install energy storage systems that will reduce peak-energy consumption from local utilities, ease the need for additional power plants, reduce electricity costs and provide back-up power during grid outages.

Under the program, large battery systems at each building — which take up the equivalent of about five parking spaces — will be charged during nonpeak hours and be used, when needed, for peak daytime use or in the event of a power failure. The stored energy is part of Southern California Edison's (SCE's) grid modernization plan.

The first phase of the Irvine Company project — which will include up to 24 office buildings in Irvine — is expected to reduce peak demand in those buildings by 25% and provide SCE with up to 10 megawatts of reserve capacity, enough to supply power to 10,000 homes. The first energy storage units in Irvine are expected to be installed by the end of this year.

"As a long-term owner, the Irvine Company takes great pride in being on the cutting edge of building design, sustainability and energy efficiency," said Rich Bluth, Irvine Company's VP of energy management. "Energy storage is a game-changer. It will allow building owners to participate in grid support and reduce costs while causing no disruption or discomfort to our customers, residents or guests."

For the initial part of the Irvine project, AMS will team with renewable energy giant SunEdison to finance, install and operate Powerpack commercial battery systems procured from technology leader, Tesla Energy, including seamlessly switching the buildings to battery power whenever SCE signals that demand on the grid is too high.

"We are thrilled to be working with the Irvine Company on a transforming its properties into fleets of the most advanced, hybrid-electric buildings in the world," said Susan Kennedy, CEO of AMS. "This initiative creates value all the way around — for building owners, customers and utilities."

"SCE is tapping into the power of their own customers' building load to manage the grid. This revolutionary partnership between a utility and its customers represents the future of the electric grid," Kennedy said.

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