‘What Can We Do Today?’ Creating a Climate for Change after Copenhagen

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With the eyes of the world on Copenhagen this week, one Canadian entrepreneur is following the United Nations Summit on climate change particularly closely. Invenia CEO Matthew Hudson believes real environmental progress is possible with the click of a mouse, and he can prove it.

...the potential reduction in backup generation could reduce global CO2 emissions by as much as 35 Megatonnes annually. That’s equivalent to making New Zealand carbon neutral overnight

With the eyes of the world on Copenhagen this week, one Canadian entrepreneur is following the United Nations Summit on climate change particularly closely. Invenia CEO Matthew Hudson believes real environmental progress is possible with the click of a mouse, and he can prove it.

“Coming out of the Summit there will be lots of momentum behind addressing climate change, but when the photo ops are over and the leaders are gone, there will be very little appetite to do anything that inhibits economic expansion. That’s a reality for developed economies like Canada and the US, as well as emerging ones like China and India.”

The magnitude of the issue can paralyze the process, with leaders unable to see solutions other than those requiring years to complete and enormous injections of capital.

“A big part of the problem is that discussion has centred on the shift to emission free electricity generation, like wind and solar power. Those conversations are important and they need to happen, but wholesale change takes a lot of time, a lot of planning and a lot of money. If we’re serious about achieving real change, we also need to look for more efficient ways to get started.”

One way forward, according to Hudson, is Invenia’s Energy Intelligence System (EIS). Invenia began development of its EIS software in 2006, in order to help power utilities more effectively manage their operations. The forecasting and optimization software uses artificial intelligence to allow utilities to increase revenue from exports, decrease power imports, reduce fuel costs, and lower green house gas emissions associated with fossil fuel based electrical generation.

At Invenia, wind energy is of particular interest. Global expansion has been rapid, with more than 150,000 MW of wind power in operation this year, up over 100 per cent from the 74,000 MW generated in 2006. The World Wind Energy Association predicts the amount of wind power will almost double again by 2012 to 290,000 MW worldwide. One complicating issue for wind is that it frequently requires backup power to be generated to make up for periods when it isn’t windy enough to produce power. With fossil fuel based generation accounting for 80% of electricity production, this means that even wind power results in some CO2 emissions.

Key countries in attendance at the Copenhagen Summit are among those leading the charge on the adoption of wind energy, says Hudson. “These are the countries we can help by enhancing their ability to integrate clean energy technologies such as wind power into their energy portfolios. By more effectively forecasting wind generation, and helping utilities to make better decisions, Invenia’s EIS allows them to increase revenue while reducing the amount of backup generation required. Based on the amount of wind power currently in operation around the world, the potential reduction in backup generation could reduce global CO2 emissions by as much as 35 Megatonnes annually. That’s equivalent to making New Zealand carbon neutral overnight.”

Hudson put his company’s technology to the test at Manitoba Hydro, one of Canada’s largest utilities, currently working with a 100 MW wind farm. Manitoba Hydro reported that the application of Invenia’s EIS had the potential to reduce its reserve cost by over $1 million per year, while effectively lowering its exposure to risk. Since earlier this year, the EIS has been in operation at Manitoba Hydro, and is achieving significant results.

With demonstrable results under its belt, the company has set its sights on the world market. Recently, Hudson spent ten days in South Africa meeting with government officials, industry leaders and representatives of the country’s electrical utilities. “We’re going to be working with our partners in South Africa to demonstrate the technology. What we’re planning to show them is that they can do more with what they already have, primarily allowing them to achieve lower power reserves, and more efficient operations.”

The Invenia EIS has the ability to track CO2 reductions that result from better wind power integration. It monitors the reduction in coal or natural gas burned to produce reserve energy, and tracks the quantifiable reduction in CO2 emissions, with no infrastructure changes or additional funding required.

“It is possible to do more with what we have, and still see substantial and immediate environmental improvements,” says Hudson. “At the same time we can work towards the continued adoption of sustainable energy sources on a global scale. Our work is an example of the sort of thing that can be done right now to make a meaningful difference.”

To schedule an interview, contact:
Anne Bennett
Media Relations, Invenia
Phone: (204) 781-3368
http://www.invenia.ca

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Anne Bennett
Invenia
(204) 781-3368
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