NISKAYUNA & BOULDER, USA: Tendril, the developer of the first integrated software/hardware platform to enable real-time, two-way communications between utilities/retailers and their customers on energy supply and consumption, is broadening its smart grid relationship with GE beyond appliances with an equity investment by GE Energy Financial Services.
Tendril and GE Energy Financial Services announced the funding at GE Global Research, GE’s technology development arm, in Niskayuna, New York, during a media forum on cleantech venture capital investing. GE Energy Financial Services is making the venture capital investment as a follow up to Tendril’s announcement in June that it raised $30 million in Series C funding, making it one of the best-funded energy management startups.
The Tendril Residential Energy Management Ecosystem (TREE) is designed to help utilities operate more efficiently to improve customer service and comply with new regulatory requirements. The enterprise-class TREE Platform, with engaging in-home devices and a suite of utility applications, provides a secure, end-to-end, easy-to-deploy, open, standards-based energy management system that empowers consumers to take control of their energy consumption.
With unprecedented scalability, reliability and extensibility, the TREE Platform provides utilities with demand response, energy efficiency and variable pricing, along with a platform for future applications such as, distributed generation management and vehicle-to-grid.
GE’s investment builds on its appliances partnership with Tendril. GE Consumer & Industrial and Tendril announced in July that they would integrate the TREE Platform to work with GE's dryers, refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances. GE appliances such as stoves, washers and dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators will communicate their power needs to the utilities in real-time. The utilities can then redistribute power as needed more efficiently.
“As one of the world's largest and most respected corporations, with strong utility partnerships and a loyal customer base, GE is uniquely positioned to deliver cutting-edge solutions to help drive adoption of the smart grid,” noted Adrian Tuck, CEO, Tendril.
“GE’s investment in Tendril is a testament to our innovative technology platform and market position. It also further validates our reputation as a leading home energy management platform provider that can be trusted to deliver compelling, tightly integrated solutions to utilities and their customers.”
For its part, GE sees its relationship with Tendril as reinforcement of its ecomagination initiative, to help customers meet their environmental challenges.
“Tendril is a great strategic complement to GE’s suite of ecomagination and smart grid investments and products, with multiple commercial and technology development opportunities for collaboration,” said Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services.
Appliances, lighting and water heating account for half of household electric use, making it critical that they be integrated across meter and broadband networks, moving beyond reliance on heating ventilation and air conditioning systems as the primary method of load control. With 37 percent of total US electric energy consumption associated with residences, and as utilities implement dynamic pricing, demand response appliances will enable consumers to save millions of dollars and cut load on the grid.
In other smart grid initiatives, GE Energy Financial Services has made a venture capital investment in Grid Net (www.grid-net.com), a leading provider of open, interoperable, policy-based network management software and communications products for the utility industry's smart grid.
In addition, GE Energy Financial Services is nearing completion of three smart grid variable frequency transformers at its Linden, NJ, power plant that will enable transmission system operators to control power flows between New Jersey and New York City with high reliability, speed and efficiency, while offering flexibility in meeting customers’ demand.