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The California Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) market has received a new provider of flexible capacity to ensure the reliability of the region’s grid network.

American supermarket company Whole Foods Market has partnered with power management services firm Axiom Energy to optimise energy bill management as well as offer grid services to DRAM.

Axiom Energy is providing Whole Foods Market with its refrigeration battery platform which enables real-time control of a grocery store’s power consumption using an advanced cloud platform, predictive analytics, and a thermal energy storage retrofit.

The system is expected to reduce peak load by up to 160 kW for 8 hours without any changes to staff behavior or daily operations.

The platform charges by freezing tanks of salt water when power demand and utility rates are low and then discharges the cooling to offset refrigeration consumption when electricity demand and prices are high. This will help Whole Foods Market to reduce its utility bills.

To enable Whole Foods Market to trade its flexible energy, Axiom Energy has collaborated with technology firm and energy capacity aggregator Leap.

Leap has a portfolio of distributed energy resources such EV chargers, smart thermostats and energy storage systems, from which the firm sources flexible energy to create a virtual power system for energy trading within DRAM’s market.

As a load provider, Axiom Energy and Whole Foods Market will receive signals from Leap’s Distributed Energy eXchange, to bid available flexible capacity into the market on an hourly basis.

Amrit Robbins, CEO of Axiom Energy, said: “Sixty to seventy percent 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.”

Thomas Folker, CEO of Leap, added:  “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.”

Tristam Coffin, Director of Sustainability & Facilities at Whole Foods Market, reiterated:  “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.”