Much of the attention in renewable energy is focused on promoting a single energy source or element in the energy ecosystem, but not enough on integrating the diverse elements of that ecosystem, said Brent Hollenbeck, CEO of Frederick-based TimberRock Energy Solutions.
Hollenbeck tells SmartCEO that he is hoping to fill that gap via REH-FLEX, a “centralized hardware and software solution that integrates renewable energy generation, energy storage, charging electric vehicles (EVs), and energy systems in buildings.
REH-FLEX provides up to five times more powerful than a typical inverter. Its power is matched to the size of the wires coming into your home or business, which allows it to power an entire home or business as a microgrid during an outage, according to the company. It also can charge an EV more quickly and maximizes the ability to sell energy and grid services back to the grid. That, Hollenbeck said, adds a tremendous cost savings for businesses and consumers.
It will “drive down energy costs, foster cleaner energy, afford additional resiliency, and optimize load management,” he said. It does it through a bi-directional energy flow that supplies energy where needed in the energy ecosystem.
These benefits, he said, add significantly to the major advancements recently made in the four key aspects of the energy ecosystem targeted by TimberRock Energy Solutions.
Hollenbeck noted that the system offers particularly critical help as backup power during natural disasters, such as hurricanes, as well as during man-made energy crises caused by hacking.
The company is not wedded to a particular energy source, other than promoting clean energy. Although its focus is on renewable energy, TimberRock Energy Solutions isn’t averse to leveraging its REH-FLEX system to reduce “brown energy” as much as possible to achieve cleaner energy in certain projects, Hollenbeck says.
The company is committed to delivering a “more customer-centric “ energy solution that is based on what the customer needs, he says. Given that each energy technology has “different strengths and weaknesses,” TimberRock Energy Solutions has opted to take a “hybrid energy approach” with REH-FLEX, which uses whichever energy source is economical for a particular project.
Hollenbeck declined to identify most of his clients other than describing his company’s “early adopter customers” as “larger sophisticated energy consumers interested in exploring emerging energy opportunities and capable of understanding their complexities.”
One of those early adapters was General Motors. TimberRock Energy Solutions developed a solar, EV charging, and battery storage infrastructure project, for General Motors at its E-Motor plant in White Marsh, Maryland. The project “was the first solar-based and microgrid-capable EV charging station in Maryland and was highlighted in GM’s Sustainability Report,” he said.
The company is taking a broader role in supporting clean energy innovation in Maryland. In January, it established the “Smart Energy Co-Op of Maryland,” to support Maryland businesses “as they seek to adopt microgrid and other technologies that are both cleaner and cost-effective.”
Christopher Berendt, partner in the energy and environmental practice at Drinker Biddle & Reath, told SmartCEO that he sees “a great deal of opportunities and growing need for power distribution system network investments.”
“Smart inverters such as REH-FLEX are examples of the intelligent, networkable components that are evolving our power grids into cellular meshes of integrated, multidirectional supply and demand resources,” he said.
He said that advanced, dispatchable energy resources at buildings, campuses, and districts are increasingly able to successfully participate in multiple markets.
“Today, companies can deploy onsite energy systems and procure services that are more resilient with superior environmental and economic performance,” he said.
“With a properly structured deal, you can get a microgrid, pay less for energy each month, improve corporate sustainability and resilience, all while outsourcing the capex and development to an energy company.”