A Fine Energy Balancing Act

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Managing the electricity grid more efficiently is an important aspect of energy efficiency. It also has a significant role to play as solar and wind energy projects come online and start to feed into the grid.

As more renewable energy such as solar and wind enters the grid, there will be an increased volatility in generation output. That’s because of the intermittent nature of these two particular sources of power. In places like Ontario, where there are mandates to increase the share of renewable energy sources, there will be increased stress on the balance between real time supply and demand in the electricity system.

Enter Enbala Power Networks, an Ontario-based company whose platform is designed to provide grid balance to regional electricity system operator (ISO). The company, whose name stands for energy balance, says its approach to system management boosts efficiency, reduces energy costs and mitigates greenhouse gas emissions.

Enbala was one of the companies that received a Artemis Top 50 advance water technology award, which were presented today as part of the Ontario Global Water Leadership Summit.

The reason why the company has received an award dedicated to water technology companies is because it explores the water/energy nexus with its platform. Water plants are by nature very energy demanding during pumping, storage and treatment processes. Thanks to the flexibility in terms of power demand of devices such as cold storage units, boilers and wood chippers, Enbala would then shut them down when demand was higher elsewhere or supply falters.

The company is currently piloting its technology in Windsor, Ontario, and at four large U.S. facilities operated by American Water.

It’s a fairly simple approach: the company pays large electricity users to participate in the management of the electric power system. It then harvests inherent flexibility in the way the equipment is operated to supply system balance and quality services to the electricity system operator. “There’s no capital cost or operating costs” Enbala CEO Ron Dizy today said during a presentation in Toronto.

Mr. Dizy said the company chose to be based in Ontario because it “offers a great springboard that enables us to work with customers across North America and, looking ahead, in Europe and China.” Previously it had been based in British Columbia.

“We’re growing quickly and because of the world-leading Ontario water technology companies that came before us, there are talented people with skill sets in water,energy and process controls, which is what we need”, he added. “The other element is that the water-energy challenge is global and because Toronto has always been very internationally oriented, people here are used to thinking in terms of global markets.”

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.