Green

Enbala taps big power users to make the grid more predictable

Enbala Power Networks, which competed today at VentureBeat’s GreenBeat conference, says it can make electricity consumption more predictable by enlisting big energy users like water treatment plants.

In the past, Enbala said, utilities and independent electricity system operators (ISOs) dealt with unpredictable demand by trying to generate more or less electricity as needed. But renewable sources like solar and wind are less reliable — you can’t just flip a switch and create more power. So instead of adjusting supply, Enbala adjusts demand.

Specifically, it will actually pay organizations to add their devices to the Enbala network. There’s a range of devices (such as cold storage units, boilers, and wood chippers) that are somewhat flexible in terms of when they operate. For example, they may need to run for four hours out of an eight-hour shift, but it doesn’t matter which four hours. So when those devices have been added to the network, Enbala can shut them down when demand is high elsewhere or when supply falters.

The company, which used to be called Sempa Power Systems, was one of the judges’ favorites in today’s startup competition, although it was beaten out for the top spot by Redwood Systems.