Summary:

EnerNOC’s predilection for buying it’s way to expansion isn’t waning. This morning the leader in the demand response sector announced that it plans to buy Global Energy Partners, a company in Walnut Creek, Calif., that develops demand response and energy efficiency products for utilities.

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Updated: EnerNOC’s predilection for buying it’s way into new markets and expansion isn’t waning. This morning the public company, which is a leader in the demand response sector — that is, turning down buildings’ energy use to help utilities shave peak power demands — announced that it plans to buy Global Energy Partners, a company in Walnut Creek, Calif. that develops demand response and energy efficiency products for utilities.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed (Update: a day later EnerNOC announced that they paid $26.5 million), but EnerNOC said the deal will be “the largest in its history.” EnerNOC has acquired a half a dozen startups over the past several years (Gregg Dixon, senior vice president of marketing for EnerNOC put the total at 8 for us before this latest) including Cogent Energy, SmallFoot, eQuilibrium Solutions, MDEnergy, and South River Consulting. Most of those deals were undisclosed, too, though a couple of them were for under $10 million.

The move is part of EnerNOC’s goal to go beyond demand response to a broader market of energy efficiency. Both EnerNOC and rival Comverge rebranded demand response services earlier this year, as energy efficiency could be a $37 billion market in the U.S., about six times as big as demand response. The idea is that once demand response aggregators have their foot in the door with the utility, add on energy efficiency services to generate more revenue.

EnerNOC says Global Energy Partners has attractive demand side tools, including energy planning, load analysis, program design and evaluation. With Global Energy Partners technology EnerNOC also says it will be able to integrate energy efficiency and demand response projects more easily.

One particularly interesting aspect of the deal is that Global Energy Partners has worked on Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) — the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s open source system for automating the way utilities do demand response (see our Open Source Smart Grid Primer). The standard has gained traction in recent years, and Honeywell bought up OpenADR player Akuacom in May.

OpenADR only serves about 85 MW of load in California, a tiny sliver of the overall demand response market. But it’s the only standard so far named by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for automating demand response, and that will make it very popular some day. Utilities in North America and Asia want to use it, and Siemens, Schneider Electric, Johnson Controls and Echelon are incorporating OpenADR into their building management systems.

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