energycioinsights

PowerStream: Rejuvenating Power Grids with Smart Grid Technology

CIO VendorBrian Bentz, President and CEO
Over the years, smart grid technology has modernized the power grid infrastructure. Today, a growing number of renewable energy sources and technologies like battery storage, microgrids, and residential solar storage are playing a major role in fostering the energy landscape. This has made it possible to better manage electricity costs, supply more green energy to communities, reduce air pollution, and increase the usage of green vehicles. However, companies are struggling to integrate various disruptive smart grid technologies into a standard energy solution that meets the needs of customers in a cost-effective way. “Transforming the legacy energy technology as eco-friendly is another key challenge in the smart grid landscape,” states Brian Bentz, President and CEO, PowerStream. Canada-based community-owned energy company, PowerStream, addresses these issues by piloting emerging solutions through the integration of advanced technologies. The company provides services like electricity distribution, Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) programs as well as renewable energy generation through solar photovoltaic systems.

PowerStream is helping transform the conventional landscape with conservation, sustainability, and implementation of smart grid technologies. With extensive experience in the smart grid and energy industry, the company drives cost-saving synergies to test and implement smart grid and new energy technologies. With a belief that ‘less is more,’ PowerStream is delivering a province-wide conservation initiative called Retrofit Program, funded by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). In this program, the company upgrades businesses’ lighting, process cooling, variable frequency drives, compressed air system, and industrial equipment to help achieve greater efficiency. “The Retrofit Program assists business customers in improving their bottom line by helping to reduce their energy consumption,” says Bentz.

Architects and engineers in the building and construction industry pay extra attention to energy efficiency while renovating or building new commercial, institutional, industrial or multi residential facilities.

The Retrofit Program assists business customers in improving their bottom line by helping to reduce their energy consumption


Through ‘High Performance New Construction’ initiative, PowerStream assists building owners and planners in designing energy efficient new buildings.“The projects must comply with the stand¬ard 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) and must exceed the energy performance requirements of that building code,” adds Bentz.

In addition to offering customers CDM programs and integrating smart grid technologies into its distribution system,PowerStreamis also investing in microgrids. PowerStream is working closely with electric utility leader Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) in the marketing, sales, installation and operation of microgrid technologies to develop smart distribution and micro grid networks in the North American market. In spite of being oceans apart, the two companies realized the potential in collaboratively advancing the global microgrid market after the success of PowerStream’s Micro Grid Demonstration Project. “We currently operate two microgrids—one at Vaughan and one feeder-sized microgrid in Penetanguishene, Ontario,” conveys Bentz.

The company recently launched a residential solar storage pilot project, in the Greater Toronto Area. This plant saved participating customers from a severe power outage during an ice storm that hit the northern part of its service area during the Easter weekend. “Advanced smart grid initiatives like our residential solar storage pilot project enhances and augments the reliability and resiliency of PowerStream’s solutions beyond what we currently have in place of our traditional poles and wires assets,” explains Bentz.

PowerStream has demonstrated and applied various other smart grid technologies for the advancement of the energy sector—be it electric vehicle technology, distribution automation, microgrid, home energy storage, or load control. Bentz foresees the smart grid enabled energy solutions to be more economically viable for many customers as the price of traditional energy solutions continues to rise. For the road ahead, PowerStream envisions being a premier, integrated energy service provider, delivering customized energy solutions to customers.