Summary:

GE is stretching out further along the network of the smart grid. This morning, GE said it has acquired Australian company Opal Software, which makes software and services for smart grid network testing and management. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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GE is stretching out further along the network of the smart grid. This morning, GE said it has acquired Australian company Opal Software, which makes software and services for smart grid network testing and management. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Opal Software’s applications and services help utilities manage the process of building, integrating, changing and testing of their so-called SCADA networks. SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition networks. These are often simple networks that connect to power grid control systems. GE, which already makes smart meters and power grid equipment, can use the newly acquired company’s software to offer services further along the network, past the meter and outside the power plant and the substation.

GE has made no bones about its interest in the smart grid lately. Earlier this year, the company announced a $200 million smart grid fund — in conjunction with a few venture capitalists — that’s meant to award funds to innovative smart grid ideas and projects. However, GE hasn’t made many acquisitions yet in the space, compared to major smart grid acquirers including Grid Point, EnerNOC, Cisco and Honeywell.

In fact, the smart grid is one of the best places to get your software startup acquired this year. EnerNOC has purchased five companies; Cisco bought Arch Rock last month, basically for its software; and Honeywell bought open source software company Akuacom in the spring. However, since most of these acquisitions come with an undisclosed price, it’s hard to tell just how good these deals have been for the startups.

GE also says one reason it bought Opal Software is to access the Asia-Pacific market. In other words, Australia. The Australian government has enacted a national broadband plan, which includes investments into countrywide smart grid networks, and has turned Australia into one of the most active smart grid markets in the world.

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