October 2014
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Echelon finalises sale of its smart grid business to S&T AG for $4.9 m

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S&T AG, a European IT solutions provider has purchased Echelon’s Smart Grid Modernisation business, which will be operated through Networked Energy Services Corporation (NES), an S&T subsidiary based in the US. The sale of Echelon’s grid operations for $4.9 million was finalised this week. NES will continue its R&D efforts in Silicon Valley, California and maintain its application and software innovation centre in Fargo, North Dakota. Echelon employees will run the NES grid business whilst S&T continues to grow its Smart Energy Business. In the same breath, the IT manufacturer seeks to support critical grid industry standards groups.

In an earlier statement, Hannes Niederhauser, CEO of S&T said, “Acquiring Echelon’s grid business means an important expansion of our Smart Energy capabilities, further demonstrating our commitment to the energy market and our belief in the smart grid opportunity.”

Ron Sege, chairman and CEO of Echelon said, ‘This transaction represents a significant step in our long-term strategy focus on the Industrial Internet of Things market, while improving our operating results as we position our technology to capitalize on this emerging opportunity.’

S&T plans to partner with members of the Grid Modernization VAR program adding its product portfolio in order to extend the number of products and services the programme can offer.
 
Reliable Controls PG&E report documents progress towards a ‘smarter’ and more reliable grid
 
In the Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) third annual smart grid report, the utility details their progress through smart grid investments in delivering a reliable service to their customers.  Chris Johns, President of PG&E said, ‘The electric grid is the key enabler for clean energy innovation now and in the years to come. We are focused on building the ‘Grid of Things’ – Smart Grid technologies that will help our customers take advantage of solar generation, electric vehicles and home energy management technologies. These new technologies will not only help us continue to provide service that is safe, reliable, affordable and clean today, but also pave the road to the smart energy economy of the future.’

PG&E’s employment of smart grid technologies and programmes have enabled the utility restore power to customers in a 24 hour turnaround time. It’s installation of intelligent switch technology has reduced the outage time by re-routing power flows. Outage time has decreased from hours to minutes and through its ‘self-healing’ grid technology has prevented 40 million customer outage minutes.

The utility has introduced additional initiatives including its outage detection programme, enabling the monitoring of individual smart meters to ensure that power has been restored and improves the logistical efficiency of utility crews when power outages occur. PG&E’s smart grid investments and plans make provision for an increasing amount of renewables, specifically solar energy to be integrated into the grid. Its plans also include a Demand Response Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Pilot program using PEV batteries to provide services to increase grid stabilisation.

PRNewswire reports that, ‘In the coming years, PG&E will continue to roll out Smart Grid technologies that will enhance grid safety, improve service and reliability, lower customer costs, and incorporate more renewable and energy storage onto the grid.’

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