Advanced Microgrid Solutions Member Spotlight

Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS), based in San Francisco, California, is a modern energy company run by a team of industry veterans.  The company designs, finances, installs and manages energy storage solutions for commercial, industrial and government buildings.  Its business model is to use best-in-class energy storage technology and proprietary analytics software to aggregate behind-the-meter battery storage and directly benefit both customers and the electric grid as a whole.

AMS is currently contracted to build more than 120 MW/500 MWh of customer-sited energy storage projects for grid support.  The company is developing landmark energy storage and microgrid projects addressing the water-energy nexus, grid reliability and renewable energy integration that use advanced energy storage to integrate solar, wind, fuel cells and other renewable resources into the electric grid and lower energy costs for customers.  The first projects began operating in 2016 with more scheduled to come on line in 2017.

In July, AMS completed a transaction with Macquarie Capital to provide capital for the joint development and construction of a $200 million fleet of energy storage projects.  The funds will be used to design and manage a distributed fleet of energy storage facilities located at commercial, industrial and government host sites.  The first of these projects will provide 300 MWh of capacity resources and demand management for customers of Southern California Edison in the West Los Angeles Basin.  Customers will purchase capacity from AMS’s fleet of behind-the-meter, battery-based energy storage systems under 10-year capacity contracts to provide load reduction services.

AMS classifies its projects into three categories: 1) Hybrid Electric Buildings® (its own trademark), 2) optimized resource management, and 3) intelligent grid support.  Hybrid Electric Buildings (HEBs) store energy when it is cleaner and more plentiful, and shift building loads from the grid to battery power when demand is high.   The Irvine Company, a commercial real estate company in southern California, is installing HEB technology in 20 office buildings.  There will be 10 MW of storage capacity with 60 MWh of energy across the fleet of buildings, and the installation is expected to reduce peak energy demand by 20%.   The installation will use Tesla batteries and apart from optimizing energy use in the buildings will also provide the local utility with up to 10MW of reserve capacity.  AMS is also installing a fleet of HEBs at California State University and at One Maritime Plaza, a major office building in San Francisco owned by Morgan Stanley Real Estate.

Optimized resource management is the use of advanced energy storage and advanced analytics software to optimize the use of resources such as on-site renewables as well as to reduce costs and provide reliable back-up power for large-scale commercial and industrial facilities.   Examples of this application include a 3.5MW / 7MWh energy storage system at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA), a regional wastewater treatment agency in Southern California.   AMS is using custom-designed Tesla Powerpacks ranging in size from 150 kW to 1,250 kW to optimize IEUA’s resource portfolio and time of power consumption.  The system will help integrate 3.5 MW of solar, 1 MW of wind and 2.8 MW of biofuel cell generation across six IEUA facilities.

AMS is also working with Southern California Edison to improve grid performance.  In 2015, the utility awarded AMS a 50 MW contract to install advanced energy storage systems at commercial and industrial sites.   The systems will offer intelligent grid support by serving as a virtual power plant capable of providing up to 50 MW of firm, dispatchable demand reduction, helping to prevent blackouts and easing the need to build additional power plants.  AMS is also working with Shell Energy North America to develop a grid-scale fleet of HEBs at Shell Energy commercial, industrial and utility customer sites throughout California.  The fleet will provide up to 20 MW of battery storage. SCE recently awarded AMS an additional 40 MW for intelligent grid support.

While AMS has had great success in California, the company is looking to other markets to further expand its business.  According to Mike Jackson, Market Development Director for AMS, “New York is among the leading states adopting advanced energy storage to address peak demand, accelerate renewables deployment across the grid and grid-edge, and enhance grid reliability and resiliency. AMS’s technology and business model will position New York utilities for cleaner grid modernization and a more connected, active customer-side management relationship.”   AMS market development and regulatory affairs staff have been actively participating in REV policy and technical work groups, including the PSC, NYISO, NYSERDA, and the Joint Utilities.