lundi 18 janvier 2010

Smart grid Darwinism: Only the strong will survive

There are tons of cleantech-related companies competing in the metering space and looking to participate in the so-called smart grid movement. The movement is being spearheaded in the United States and spurred by government stimulus funds, but Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric is now stepping up its game in China.

GE (NYSE:GE) recently announced it is teaming with the Chinese city of Yangzhou to bring smart grid technologies to China. Yangzhou is located on the Yangtze River in China’s Jiangsu province.

GE said it is building a smart grid demonstration center in the Yangzhou New Economy and Development Zone. The 100,000-square-foot lab is expected to focus on advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meters, home energy management systems, programmable thermostats, and smart appliances.

The intent is to offer verification of how deploying GE technologies could help China improve the reliability, efficiency, and carbon footprint of its energy delivery, GE said.

But it’s not just big names like GE, Google PowerMeter, and Microsoft Hohm progressing in the space (see Microsoft enters energy management with Hohm app), or even Apple which could be next, after it reportedly filed some energy management-related patents.

There are companies constantly sprouting up, some of which you may not have heard of—yet. As it applies to cleantech, Darwin’s theory of evolution suggests that when it comes to smart grid, only the strong will survive.

Popular names in the home/building area networks (HAN), portal, and energy management systems space include Tendril Networks, AlertMe, and Control4. Control4, which specializes in IP-based home control systems, announced this month it’s teaming with Apogee Interactive to incorporate Apogee’s energy analysis software into the Control4 HAN solution, the Energy Management System 100.

Don’t forget others such as Agilewaves, Ember, Energate, EnergyHub, Greenbox Technology (which was acquired by smart grid technology provider Silver Spring Networks), GridPoint, Honeywell, Onzo, Positive Energy, OpenPeak (which has teamed with smart electric meter maker Itron), Zenpanion, and 4Home (which has partnered with meter heavyweight Sensus) (see 4Home, Sensus unveil partnership details).

Other AMI and networking vendors include Aclara (part of ESCO Technologies), Ambient, Arcadian Networks, BPL Global, Current Group, Echelon, Eka Systems, Elster, Landis +Gyr, On-Ramp, SmartSynch, Trilliant (which acquired SkyPilot Networks), and Tropos Networks.

Are we missing any? Which companies from this mix are you rooting for or investing in and why? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Source : The Cleantech Group, 18/01/10

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