Major USA investments in Smart Grid technology


Silver Spring Chief
Executive Scott Lang
forecasts contracts
exceeding US$ 1 billion
Redwood City, CA — METERING.COM — November 25, 2008 – Three utilities in the United States of America are in the process of commissioning Smart Grid technology that will see them at the cutting edge of this next-stage technology.

Silver Spring Networks is quietly finalizing the contracts worth, hundreds of millions of dollars. The multiyear deals include wirelessly networking more than three million electric meters for the utilities. The agreements are expected to be finalized in December and would be worth more than $300 million.

Silver Spring concluded a contract announced in July with Pacific Gas & Electric to provide networking infrastructure to support all of the California utility’s five million electric customers.

Chief Executive Scott Lang said Silver Spring has already prepared multiyear contracts worth US$500 million, and he expects that value to reach US$1 billion within 12 months. He said the company would be profitable by next year, with revenue exceeding US$75 million.

"We’ve seen major pushes by nearly every state toward more efficiency and a smarter grid," Mr. Lang said. "Utilities didn’t have these technologies available to deploy until the last year or two at the economics that can be done today."

A key feature of the technology is that it uses Internet Protocol which makes it easier for the networked grid to communicate with third party-developed products and services. Other smart grid companies are using IP as well.

Silver Spring rivals Comverge, Eka Systems, GridPoint, and Trilliant have all been busy securing deals to build more intelligent grids for electric utilities. Big technology companies such as IBM and General Electric are entering the space as well.

Smart grid companies are also offering "home area network" capabilities as part of their network infrastructure. Appliances, once equipped, could talk with the network using the meters so that people could track energy usage and cost in real time. This should help consumers reduce their monthly bills by keeping thermostats lower or running appliances at low-demand periods.