Increasing the amount of energy we get from renewable sources—an aspiration that was once the province of idealists—has become a much more common goal in recent years, one trotted out by politicians of many different partisan stripes. But as the pressure to move to sustainable energy grows, so too do the technical challenges in implementing the needed new technologies effectively, and on a large scale.
One of these challenges: because renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, are less consistent and predictable than their traditional counterparts, energy companies are reluctant to rely on them for a significant percentage of their power. How do you manage on a cloudy day or a still one, if you need constant source of power to keep the grid up and running?
Hoping to help solve this is Prolucid Technologies
, a Mississauga software engineering firm that has just received nearly $900,000 in funding from Ontario's Smart Grid Fund
. That money will support a two-year demonstration project in which the company will install its power grid management platform, including both hardware and software, at Exhibition Place.
"The goal," says company president Bob Leigh, "is to monitor the state of the local grid, keeping tabs on both the amount of energy being used as well as the amount being produced by the various local power producers—solar panels, wind turbines, or other."
This effort will help combat the problem power companies face with managing the more erratic renewable energy sources.
"By actively monitoring the system and having the ability to control its various components on the fly, we hope to increase the amount of renewable generation that can be connected to the local grid beyond the current low limits," says Leigh. Exhibition Place, he explains, makes the perfect testing ground because it already has a mix of energy sources on-site, most famously, it's large wind turbine.
Prolucid currently has nine staff members, and will double in size to manage this new project: they are currently hiring for five positions, and expect to hire for an additional three later this year, when the demonstration period begins. They have also announced the creation of a new offshoot, Prolucid LocalGrid Technologies Inc., which will work on bringing the company's technology to market.
Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Bob Leigh, President, Prolucid Technologies Inc.