Consert Inc., a Raleigh, N.C.-based smart grid technology startup, has raised $17.7 million in new VC funding. Backers include Constellation Energy, GE Energy Financial Services, Qualcomm Ventures and Verizon Ventures.
Raleigh-based Consert Inc., a smart grid technology provider, announced today that Constellation Energy (NYSE:CEG), GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE (NYSE:GE), Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM), Verizon Ventures and private investors have invested $17.7 million to fund strategic marketing, North American sales and ongoing enhancements of Consert’s advanced smart grid software.
“Consert has united the interests of utilities with those of consumers and small businesses,” said Consert CEO and President Jack Roberts. “This group of investors advances our vision of creating an integrated green energy solution with smart infrastructure, real-time communications, and intelligent in-home devices.”
Consert is currently providing municipal and cooperative electric utilities in North Carolina and Texas with a reliable, flexible and economical form of green operating reserves and energy management. Consert empowers consumers to manage their energy usage without compromising control, comfort or convenience through secure online energy profiles and home devices.
Wake Electric Membership Corporation in North Carolina just completed a pilot with Consert and now plans to extend the service to its member base. Its CEO, Jim Mangum, reported, “Our pilot participants realized energy savings ranging from 7 to 54 percent with an average of 17 percent and responded favorably about the ease-of-use of the Consert system.”
Consert gives energy conservation the attributes of generation and addresses utilities’ issues such as capacity, transmission, renewable portfolio standards and power variability from intermittent generation. Consert has the ability to solve energy issues quickly and cost-effectively and also offers advanced ancillary services such as wind and solar regulation.
“Demand side resources must be as reliable as generation assets to meet capacity obligations in today’s marketplace,” said Kathi Hyle, COO, Constellation Energy Resources and senior vice president, Constellation Energy. “The Consert solution meets this test and could benefit utilities, municipals and cooperatives nationwide.”
By providing measurable and verifiable capacity in the form of operating reserves for generating and distributing utilities, Consert creates a Virtual Peak PlantSM that can defer or supplant the need for additional conventional power plants at a cost that is 70 to 80 percent less than the current capital cost of a new gas-fired peak plant with an equivalent operating cost that is 60 percent less.
“Consert’s technology connects homes and small businesses through existing communications networks, enabling utilities to balance electricity demand, increase energy efficiency and drive consumer savings,” said Kevin Skillern, managing director of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services. “It complements GE’s suite of economagination and smart grid investments and products, and provides opportunities for future collaboration.”
Machine-to-machine communications are enabled and managed through the Verizon Wireless’ network — the nation’s most reliable and largest 3G network. Consert is able to report real-time, empirical data to achieve an integrated consumer-to-grid solution with additional smart grid features including demand management, advanced metering infrastructure and a Home Area Network.
“By utilizing the 3G wireless network to manage its software messaging and real-time data collection, Consert has developed a very compelling solution for smart grid applications,” said Quinn Li, director of Qualcomm Ventures. “Consert’s innovative technology positions them well to succeed in this growing market.”
Tom Darden, a renowned green investor and Consert director who focuses on financial, environmental and social returns, reflected that the Consert Solution is future-proofed for development in a world of carbon measurement.
“Consert enables distributing utilities to conserve, capture and monetize carbon savings,” Darden explained. “Its application meets most states’ Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards and it does not require any subsidy to make it economically viable. It also has the added operational benefits of providing regulation for wind power and real-time reporting of micro solar grids or other distributed generation resources to the utility.”
Designed without private protocols, Consert’s technology is built on IBM enterprise software and works with standards-based hardware, communications suppliers and solution integrators promoting free-market competition. Consert has filed hundreds of claims of intellectual property with the U.S. Patent Office as well as in numerous countries around the world.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
About Consert Inc.
Headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., Consert Inc. is a leader in the design and implementation of intelligent distributed energy resource management systems. Delivering a complete energy management and conservation ecosystem, Consert demonstrates that intelligent energy management provides the most reliable, flexible and economical source of green energy. Consert’s software-as-a-service system empowers consumers to monitor and reduce their energy consumption helping them to save money and the environment, while granting utilities permission to adjust consumer loads and obtain real-time data. This data collection helps utilities improve reliability, add valuable new services and reduce capacity constraints and operating costs to preserve and enhance cash flow. A demonstration of the application as used by a residential consumer can be viewed at http://bit.ly/Consert-at-Home. For more information, visit www.Consert.com.
For more information about Constellation Energy, visit www.constellation.com.
For more information about GE Energy Financial Services, visit www.geenergyfinancialservices.com.
For more information about Qualcomm, visit www.qualcomm.com.
For more information about Verizon Ventures, visit www.verizon.com/ventures.
For more information about Verizon Wireless, visit www.verizonwireless