Tackling intermittency with innovation

Temporal Power's flywheel technology takes energy storage to the next level.

Temporal Power's flywheel technology promotes renewable energy by stabilizing the grid

Peaks and valleys may be a fact of life in the stock market, but they’re “game-over” for the grid.

For our society to function smoothly—heating homes, powering schools and hospitals, enabling mission-critical infrastructure—we need a steady, continuous power supply moving through a stable, reliable electrical grid.

Intermittency is one of the biggest challenges to growing the amount of renewable energy that makes up our power supply. Because the breeze doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t always shine, intermittent power sources such as solar and wind can “whipsaw” the grid—causing a power imbalance and, in extreme cases, temporary blackouts.

Temporal Power, a Canadian company, is tackling the intermittency issue with innovation—and working to maximize the amount of renewable energy that can power the grid.

Temporal’s patented flywheel technology uses steel rotating machinery as energy storage, making variable energy generation more predictable and smoothing momentary imbalances between power generation and usage.

“Think of Temporal Power’s flywheel products as highly specialized storage,” says Eric Murray, president and CEO of Temporal Power, based in Mississauga, ON. “Our focus is on short-term energy storage that allows grid operators to regulate a constantly changing electrical system.”

Enbridge, a North American leader in energy infrastructure, has a dynamic presence this week in Vancouver at the GLOBE 2016 Conference and Innovation Expo, North America’s largest and most influential sustainable business summit. We’re a major player in delivering various sources of energy supply—including renewables—and we’re uniquely positioned to help society make the transition to a lower-carbon future.

Innovation plays a vital role in that transition, and that’s why we invest in companies like Temporal Power. During GLOBE 2016 Innovation Expo, Temporal Power’s energy storage concept will be featured at the GLOBE Energy Connections presentation space, adjacent to the Enbridge booth, today and on Friday, March 4, with Murray discussing his company’s technology and partnership with Enbridge.

Grid managers work against the twin backdrops of inconsistent power supply and fluctuating demand, as refrigerators, air conditioners, lights and big-screen TVs are turned on and off. The challenge for managers is to maintain the grid at exactly 60 Hertz, or suffer stability consequences.

Temporal’s flywheel battery technology helps balance out a generating station from one second to the next—acting as a shock absorber, protecting the grid from wild swings.

Using Temporal Power’s fully recyclable flywheel batteries, which are rechargeable thousands of times without any degradation, the potential result is not just a more stable and reliable grid—but a diminished reliance on the fossil fuel-burning generators that are brought into service during peak demand periods.

“That,” says Murray, “brings real environmental and economic benefits to end-users.”