UWB Energy was recently featured in the CBC’s weekly environmental newsletter, What on Earth? Craig Clydesdale, CEO of UWB Energy, is interviewed about his company’s Integrated Energy Platform (IEP), an on-site power system that aims to take buildings off the sometimes unstable electrical grid while also reducing their carbon footprint. UWB Energy’s technology could be the next big thing – read the article to find out why.
Meet UWB Energy: Could this off-the-grid technology be the future of electricity?
In August 2003, a sagging high-voltage power line in northern Ohio brushed up against some tree branches. Before long, three transmission lines had short-circuited and 45 million people in the northeastern U.S., as well as 10 million in Ontario, were in the dark — for hours, days, in some cases even a week.
It was a tough lesson for power companies, who implemented recommendations from the investigation that followed (such as keeping power lines away from trees). But the fact is, most of us still rely on the grid to provide electricity to our homes and businesses.
If Craig Clydesdale has his way, however, that will all change. He's the founder and CEO of UWB Energy, an Oakville, Ont.-based company that has developed a new way of providing electricity to customers.
"You're looking at the next big thing," Clydesdale said. What he's referring to is his company's Integrated Energy Platform (IEP), an on-site power system that aims to take buildings off the sometimes unstable electrical grid while also reducing their carbon footprint. Oh, and it's portable.
UWB Energy's unit shouldn't be confused with a generator, which creates mechanical energy and delivers it only as a backup, when existing systems fail. What Clydesdale's company provides is private, continuous electricity with no upfront cost for the unit. The customer just pays a regular bill directly to UWB Energy each month.
So what's in the unit? The current version uses natural gas, a battery and an inverter. While it's not a zero-emissions solution, Clydesdale said the system can be modified to include greener energy as it develops and becomes more affordable — such as solar panels or hydrogen, which he believes to be the future.
The unit only generates power when it has to. That's unlike power lines that deliver electricity to your home, which have to be constantly running just in case. UWB Energy uses artificial intelligence to calculate a building's power requirements, so its customers only get "what they need," Clydesdale said.
At the moment, UWB Energy units are being sold to organizations and businesses with large demands, such as ones in agriculture and industrial manufacturing. But they've also been used in high-rise apartments and multi-residential units.
Last month, Stoneridge Ice Centre in Burlington, Ont., became the first arena in North America to adopt UWB Energy's new technology. The estimate is that their annual electricity costs will drop from $180,000 to $145,000 — a savings of 20 per cent.
Although Clydesdale has a unit for his home, right now, UWB Energy's main focus is on commercial and multi-residential buildings.
Clydesdale doesn't know of anything like UWB Energy on the market, but he said he'd be happy to see others rise to the challenge of a green, off-grid solution. At a time when more ice storms are predicted for parts of Canada with climate change, Clydesdale said this type of technology could be the security people are looking for.
He said it's potentially "a multitrillion-dollar industry. There's lots of room for all of us."
— Nicole Mortillaro
If you want to read the story on CBC click here.