Sustainable Energy

Here's how you can stop power cuts and brown-outs

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
Making grids more reliable

For large-scale companies, maintaining a reliable supply of electricity is vital, with grid operators facing the daily challenge of balancing supply with demand.

Maintaining a reliable power supply is crucial in terms of cost. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, power outages and interruptions "cost Americans at least $150 billion a year."

What's more, power management company Eaton's Blackout Tracker Annual Report states that in 2014 an average of 3,996 people were "affected per outage," with the average duration of an outage lasting more than 40 minutes.

Paolo Tahalele | EyeEm | Getty Images

In developing countries, the effect of electrical outages can be equally devastating – according to the World Bank, in Afghanistan 5.1 percent of sales were lost in 2014 due to power outages.

Founded in 2003, Vancouver based company Enbala – which stands for Energy and Balance – has developed technology that they say helps provide increased flexibility to the power system.

According to the company their technology enables big electricity users to increase their efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This city wants to be the world's greenest

Enbala's system manages electricity demand with great precision, with the company saying its Grid Balance program, "continuously connects commercial and industrial customers through the GOFlex platform," which in turn helps leverage the customers' existing energy-consuming assets to bring flexibility to the power system.

The GOFlex Platform is described by Enbala as technology that manages a network of industrial and commercial electricity consumers, as well as their "energy-consuming assets," in order to bring grid balancing flexibility to utilities and electricity system operators.

"Enbala's technology is focused on harnessing flexibility of customer assets," Bud Vos, CEO of Enbala, told CNBC's Sustainable Energy.

"We do that through complicated and intense forecasting and optimization software and then we bring it together in a network so that we can provide it as a reliable grid service 24/7, 365," Vos added.

One company that is using Enbala's system and technology is Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water.

"We are but a small part of the larger picture of a sustainable energy initiative," American Water's Steve Taylor said. Taylor added that as a large end user the company wanted to reduce its carbon footprint.

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