Credit: Enbala

The outfit has applied its smart grid software to utilities as they shift to a wider range of renewable power sources

Job titles at Enbala Power Networks Inc. are decidedly playful: simplicity seeker, planetary activist and Mr. Roboto, the latter ascribed to president and CEO Bud Vos. These are handles you might expect to see on Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s career page, not on the website of a company aiming to keep the world’s electric grids in a constant state of reliable balance by harnessing distributed energy resources like solar, wind and conventional hydroelectricity. Electrical engineer and chief technology officer Malcolm Metcalfe launched Enbala in Vancouver back in 2003 to help owners of commercial buildings cut heating costs and shrink emissions. The business has since applied its smart-grid software to utilities as they shift to a wider range of renewable energy sources. It’s banking on a growing need for DERMS (distributed energy resource management systems) worldwide to keep everything running smoothly. The company likens this task to conducting an orchestra—hence the name of its marquee software platform, Symphony by Enbala, which uses real-time data and communication infrastructure to control an evolving modern electricity grid. The DERMS market remains modest in North America, but globally it could hit US$70 billion by 2022, Florida-based Zion Market Research projects.

Enbala, named to the 2017 Global Cleantech 100, now employs 40 and has three offices in Toronto and the U.S. in addition to its corporate headquarters in North Vancouver. In February, the firm announced US$12 million in financing from a round led by ABB Technology Ventures, a division of European tech conglomerate ABB, and including investors such as General Electric subsidiary GE Ventures. “The new funding fuels the company for growth and continued R&D and gives us a really long runway,” Vos says.