By Stephen Kishewitsch
Demand response, and companies that aggregate it to help balance supply and load on the grid aren’t new. Traditionally, demand response works on a scale of an hour or more, interrupting some process on a major consumer’s production line to keep demand broadly in line with what generators are putting onto the grid.
What Toronto-based ENBALA (the name is an amalgam of ENergy in BALAnce) Power Networks does is similar, but on a timescale of seconds, rather than hours. Using smart grid technologies that weren’t available even five years ago, the company’s system calculates the difference between the available supply and the momentary demand on the grid every four seconds, and invites its client companies – large power consumers – to tune down (or up) the rate at which some of their machinery – say, a compressor – operates, to keep a close match between what the grid is supplying – at that moment – and how much its consumers are drawing.