“Energy internet” firm AutoGrid Systems announced Friday its Series C funding round was joined by Total Energy Ventures (TEV), a corporate venture arm of global energy firm Total SA, as a strategic investor. Previous TEV investments in smart energy have included Sunverge and Stem, AutoGrid said, and Total is the majority owner of solar firm SunPower and battery maker Saft, it added.
The added funding for AutoGrid will support further development of its “Flex” suite of flexibility-management applications for predicting, controlling and optimizing DER using the energy internet, the firm said. The plan is to strengthen the firm’s abilities in North America, Asia and Europe, and Total’s deep understanding of the solar power, battery storage, power generation and other sectors of the energy industry are expected to help.
AutoGrid will continue to expand the abilities of its platform and management applications to help utilities and energy-service providers grow customer engagement, deliver new value-added services and maximize the use of their own and their customers’ energy assets, it added.
TEV joined a consortium of firms that raised $20 million for AutoGrid in the same funding round in May (SGT, May-27), AutoGrid said. The consortium included Envision Energy, it added, [EDITOR’S NOTE: Previously reported as Envision Ventures,]. AutoGrid called Envision one of the largest renewable-energy developers and technology providers in the world with over 50 GW of assets under management.
“TEV’s investment in AutoGrid extends our firm’s involvement in digital energy solutions that enable increased use of solar, wind, battery storage and other clean energy technologies,” said Christophe Tonion, senior investment manager and chief financial officer at TEV, in prepared remarks. “AutoGrid’s flexibility-management applications empower the energy industry to use the energy internet to transform the traditional centralized, one-way electric grid into a modern distributed, bi-directional grid that is more efficient and extends the benefits of affordable, reliable energy to millions of more people around the world.”
“Today’s energy customers – both residential and commercial – are no longer just simple price takers,” said Cindi Choi, senior director for global strategy and business development at SunPower, in prepared remarks. “They expect to be engaged with their utilities and energy service providers and be able to maximize the value of their energy choices including their investments in solar power, battery storage, smart lighting systems and other DERs.
“AutoGrid’s flexibility-management applications allow energy service providers to deliver new types of value-added services to these customers – services that help them lower their energy bills and better monetize their energy assets,” she added.
“We are delighted to welcome Total to our investor group,” said AutoGrid CEO Dr Amit Narayan in prepared remarks. “This investment underscores companies’ growing need to use the energy internet to optimize flexibility across a vast network of DERs if they hope to win in the new energy world.
“Total’s extensive industry knowledge and global market reach will accelerate AutoGrid’s efforts to build and deliver flexibility management applications that enable a smarter energy internet,” he added.
The AutoGrid Flex application suite includes:
- DR management and optimization system (DROMS) – A comprehensive, dispatch-grade DR management system (DRMS) that unifies management of all DR programs, assets and customer segments; delivers a rich, engaging experience to DR program participants, and provides advanced analytics for reliable, accurate, highly targeted dispatch;
- DER management system (DERMS) – That connects to and manages all types of DER including smart inverters and battery storage to support distribution operations and enable ancillary services, and
- Virtual power plant (VPP): Aggregating tens of thousands of flexible resources, creating a single dispatch-patch resource that can be used to monetize assets in wholesale energy markets in real time.
Two leading power retailers, Gexa Energy and NextEra Energy, are using AutoGrid’s technology to offer DR programs in Texas and PJM respectively, we reported in June (SGT, June-22).
Some of the world’s leading energy firms use AutoGrid software to improve operations, integrate renewables and drive deeper engagement with customers, AutoGrid said, including EOn, Bonneville Power Administration, Florida Power & Light, Southern California Edison, Eneco, Portland General Electric, CPS Energy, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, NextEra Energy and CleaResult, the firm said, listing them in that order.