US smart grid: the UK tech companies moving into America

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Two UK smart grid tech companies this week confirmed their entry into the US smart grid market.

Scottish Smarter Grid Solutions opened its first US office and signed global agreements with smart grid companies Silver Spring Networks and HEVO power.

The company, which provides solutions to increasing grid capacity to allow more renewable energy to connect, has already won a contract with Con Edison to model and simulate microgrid applications for the New York metro area.

Dr Bob Currie, chief technology officer and co-founder at Smarter Grid Solutions, said:

“In the short time that we have been operating in New York, we have identified significant opportunities to accelerate our growth and have already started work with a number of prominent organisations in the smart grid sector.

“Our technology and solutions are being well received and leading to important new business relationships.”

The new office is situated within New York City’s Urban Future Lab, a technology incubator for clean energy companies and Smarter Grid Solutions is the Lab’s first international tenant.

Demand for software

Meanwhile, UK data gathering company Onzo is securing investment to fund a move into North America to capitalise on the region’s need for software to analyse usage data.

Onzo, which compiles information on public energy consumption for utilities, has raised US$2.5 million and intends to confirm a further two million dollars by the end of 2014, according to Bloomberg.

Joel Hagen, chief executive officer at Onzo, said: “Having some presence in North America on the ground is now required.”

Hagen believes that the majority of American utilities have under-invested in generation plants and transmission networks and this presents an opportunity for the company.

Mr Hagan said: “[Utilities] haven’t spent as much as their European counterparts on infrastructure and this means it’s cheaper for them to get you to use less energy than it is for them to spend money on infrastructure.”

Onzo is working with some Californian utilities and Hagen expects the company’s software to reach more than two million end-users globally within two years.

According to research conducted by Bloomberg, the US invested approximately $3.6 billion in the smart-grid in 2013, about a third less than in 2012.

The decreasing investment is indicative of a shift from hardware infrastructure to software as the technology for analyzing data now takes precedence.

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