Derek Lim Soo
CEO & Co-Founder, Peak Power
In Canada, and across the world, energy consumption is growing. Our power infrastructure is aging. The answer to some of our most pressing energy challenges can be found in the innovative solutions being developed by Toronto-based Peak Power.
Peak Power was founded by self-described energy nerds in 2015 and is the only company operating battery storage, grid interactive buildings, and bi-directional electric vehicles with a single platform for partners to achieve net-zero goals, cut operating expenses, and unlock new revenue opportunities.
“We believe that buildings have the potential to disrupt and decentralize the energy sector, leading to cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable electricity,” says Derek Lim Soo, Peak Power’s CEO and Co-Founder. “Our software solutions can forecast power grid needs and optimize energy assets. Building and manufacturing owners can get greater returns by leveraging untapped energy potential already in their facilities.”
The transition to clean energy is being powered by technology and partnerships that create smart cities. Instead of commercial buildings being big consumers of energy, a two-way relationship can be created, so they can contribute back to the electrical grid. Already, Peak Power is working with forward-thinking utilities, including Oshawa Power, to advance technologies that are leading to creative solutions.
Turning innovation into reality
In one example, an office building stores energy in a bank of batteries that can be charged during times when demand for electricity is lower. Then, at times of peak demand, the building can draw power from the batteries instead of the electrical grid. The resulting benefits include additional revenue through energy market incentives and reduced strain on the electricity grid, leading to more reliability.
A pilot project in Toronto is turning electric vehicles into mobile batteries. Electric vehicles can discharge power into the building when the demand for electricity is high and then recharge their battery in non-peak times.
Peak Power is showing what’s possible by being creative and efficient in moving power around. “It’s not easy predicting when there will be peak demand on our power system because there are many variables, including the weather. We actually have a meteorologist on staff to improve our predictions,” says Lim Soo. “We work with our customers to give them tools and notifications to understand what’s happening with the grid and when it’s advantageous for them to draw power from alternate sources, such as batteries, or reduce consumption altogether.”
The status quo isn’t an option. We continue to see the negative impacts of current energy systems, which in many places are still heavily reliant on using coal, a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
Technology is already enabling decentralization in many aspects of our lives and, in turn, giving individuals more control. Our energy production and consumption should be no different. “The sharing economy is where we see energy going,” says Lim Soo. “Facilitated by big data and technology, goods and resources are shared by individuals and groups in a collaborative way such that physical assets become services. Airbnb is a great example. Home and apartment owners provide short-term rentals in a public market. In the same way, a decentralized electricity system means everyone has a chance to share the power and the resulting financial benefits.”