Smart, Scalable Technologies Opening New Doors for Canada’s Cleantech Sector

The energy and cleantech sectors are increasingly looking to technological innovation to make better, more efficient use of valuable and scarce resources such as water and electricity. This kind of innovation is apt to positively impact Canadians as they face natural disasters, such as the recent rainstorm in Toronto and flooding in Alberta, which threaten widespread power outages and public transporation shutdowns.

There are also other massive market drivers. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook last year, energy efficiency alone is forecast to have a nearly $12 trillion opportunity in the next 20 years. Combine this with the fact that world energy consumption is poised to increase 1.4% per year until 2035, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook.

This is why some VC funds, like BDC Venture Capital, are injecting new funds into energy and clean technology, sectors BDC has been investing in since 2001.

“The rising cost and the increasing scarcity of energy and resources, as well as the transition to a low-carbon economy, has caused a surge in cleantech innovation in Canada, and this country has the opportunity to be a world leader in developing technologies that can help companies address global resource, productivity and efficiency challenges,” Larry Lam, partner of the BDC Venture Capital Energy/Cleantech (ECT) Fund, said in an interview with Techvibes.

Lam believes this fund can change how Canada views cleantech: “The BDC Venture Capital ECT Fund is reshaping the concept of cleantech, by putting smart money towards globally competitive Canadian technologies that can make businesses everywhere more resource-efficient and productive.”

 

 

One example of the ECT’s fund vision is Regen Energy, a Toronto-based energy management company that provides commercial, industrial, institutional, and multi-unit residential facilities with the ability to reduce their electrical demand charges by 30% or more using a practical, cost-effective approach.

BDC Venture Capital first invested in Regen last year. The rapidly growing company offers an automated demand management, demand response, and load scheduling solution for electrical HVAC and discretionary loads in commercial and industrial settings using what it calls “swarm energy management.” In simpler terms, it dramatically reduces energy costs—something that virtually any business can benefit from.

Regen says that its technology could apply to one million buildings across North America, improving an entire continent’s use of a valuable resource. And the savings these businesses generate from Regen’s solutions could be passed onto consumers, creating a full circle of benefits.

Regen’s solutions are proven to be effective, but the real beauty lies in how startingly simple the system is. Roman Kulyk, chief technology officer and cofounder, likens Regen to bees and a beehive.

“When you look at a single bee, it’s a very simple insect and it does some very simple tasks,” he says. “But when you look at bees in the aggregate, it’s a really complex, intertwined system that they create.”

Regen is not alone in its quest. The company’s “beehive” is but one bee inside of Canada’s growing cleanteach sector. And as the sector continues to use modern technology to innovate, we’ll see better and more efficient uses of resources, which should translate into savings and superior service for end users.