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TMCNet:  AutoGrid Systems Raises $9M in Funding

[November 01, 2012]

AutoGrid Systems Raises $9M in Funding

Nov 01, 2012 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- AutoGrid Systems, a provider of Big Data analytics and software services for enabling utilities and end-users to control their power consumption and costs, announced that it has raised $9 million in venture funding from investors in the Silicon Valley.


According to a release, Foundation Capital, Voyager Capital and Stanford University all participated in the funding, which occurred in two rounds. Additionally, AutoGrid has also signed contracts worth more than $5 million with ARPA-E, the projects research agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, and the California Energy Commission.

The company also publicly introduced the Energy Data Platform (EDP), a highly scalable and secure software platform for mining the wealth of data from smart meters and other networked assets connected to the grid. In addition, the company unveiled the Demand Response Optimization and Management Systems (DROMS), a software-as-a-service demand response optimization and management platform that reduces the cost of implementing demand response by 90 percent while increasing the "yield" of these programs by 30 percent.

DROMS has already been integrated and used in demand response programs for City of Palo Alto Utilities and Sacramento Municipal Utilities District.

"AutoGrid transforms data into actionable intelligence for both utilities and their customers. As an initial application, the technology will dramatically help expand how demand response programs are used by utilities and retail electricity providers in the nation and around the world," said Steve Vassallo, a partner at Foundation Capital. "We are thrilled with how quickly the company has started gaining customer traction in what is considered to be a challenging market." AutoGrid noted that it applies Big Data technologies and predictive algorithms to help utilities, grid operators, and end-users harness the tsunami of data being generated by the smart meters, grid sensors, building energy management systems and other devices. Similar to recommendation engines for e-commerce sites or algorithms for predicting weather, EDP uses petabytes of structured and unstructured data to create forecasts of future consumption under normal and event conditions by examining ongoing trends, past consumption patterns and relationships between millions of interdependent variables. The system learns continuously and becomes more accurate as more data becomes available, and can optimize power distribution and consumption as it is used more and more.

"AutoGrid is creating the brains for the smart grid. If you can analyze all of the data, you can predict what the electrical parameters of the grid will be under any situation and use that to remove inefficiencies from the electricity supply chain," said Dan Ahn, managing director at Voyager Capital. "This is a huge, long-term opportunity to apply state-of-the-art big data analytics, with a disruptive business model, to transform a 100 year old industry." The company reported that its first application, DROMS, is a highly scalable and secure, software application that reduces the cost of implementing a range of demand response and dynamic pricing programs such as direct load control, critical peak pricing, peak-time rebate and demand bidding programs. The cloud-based software can be deployed in weeks, not months or years, and provides the lowest cost, lowest risk option for utilities and electricity service providers to offer demand management programs to their customers. Based on open protocols such as OpenADR, the industry-wide standard for automated demand response, DROMS can be economically implemented by service providers of all sizes, not just the large utilities or industrial facilities.

"The first wave of smart grid infrastructure investments helped utilities, industrial manufacturers, facility owners and grid operators to obtain data about power consumption, delivery and costs. AutoGrid's helps these customers take maximum advantage of this data to improve their operations, consume power more efficiently and make the overall system more reliable," said Dr. Narayan. "By getting rid of inefficiencies in the overall system, AutoGrid converts energy data into a new source of energy." ((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))

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