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Kim Kenway, VP of Thermal Energy Storage of Maine, shows ice-based energy storage units in the Boothbay Harbor region, Maine. Photo: John Patriquin/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Commercial buildings account for nearly one third of U.S. total energy use. Roughly 25% of that third comes from air cooling, making it one of the main contributors to utility grid stress, especially in hot temperatures at peak times of the day.

Yes, but: Air cooling is also one of the easier electrical loads to shift to off-peak demand times. Thermal Energy Storage (TES) is an established technology that reduces grid stress by shifting cooling-energy use from high-peak periods, when demand and rates are highest, to off-peak periods, when rates are lower, and is becoming increasingly prevalent.

How it works: TES systems involve temporarily holding thermal energy in a hot or cold phase and releasing that energy for later on-demand use. Several U.S. companies use ice-based TES systems installed on rooftops: The ice is made with air conditioning equipment, integrated into the TES system at night — when demand for electricity is low — and then released to cool buildings, skyscrapers and other retail installations such as grocery stores to keep produce cold.

The benefits of TES depend on the customer and location. Commercial customers save on costly utilities rates during peak demand. For utilities, TES can alleviate the grid stress caused by air conditioning demand by shifting it to off-peak times, reducing the possibility for brown- or blackouts during heat waves.

What's new: The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources recently awarded a contract to deploy ice-based TES capacity in Nantucket. The project is expected to deliver more than 1 megawatt of peak-demand reduction. This will enable the island to use air-cooling technology without investing in cabling to deliver power from the mainland.

What’s next: The DOE Energy Storage Database shows 114 installations in the U.S., for a total of 107,891 kilowatts of ice-based thermal energy as of 2017. By 2025, the global TES market is expected to grow to $12.5 billion.

Maggie Teliska is a technical specialist at Caldwell Intellectual Property Law, an intellectual property law firm. She is also a member of GLG, a platform connecting businesses with industry experts.

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Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

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John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”