Positive Energy, a startup that makes software and analytics systems used by utilities to provide better smart meter services, has raised a $14 million round from New Enterprise Associates. The funding was reported by the Washington Business Journal and by VentureWire. (Update: The company confirmed the funding with us as well)
The Arlington, Va.-based company, which was one of our 25 up-and-coming startups to watch in the smart home energy space, was founded in March 2007 and had previously raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding. Essentially, Positive Energy helps utilities’ customers cut energy consumption with tools like home energy reports, energy-focused utility web sites and carbon calculators.
Those kind of tools are becoming increasingly attractive to utilities as a way to help them curb the growing demand for energy in the most cost-effective way possible. According to the California Public Utilities Commission, adding energy efficiency programs costs about half of what it takers to add more base-load generation.
And local and state policies are encouraging utilities to embrace those types of tools, too. California was one of the first states to implement utility decoupling, or the separating of utility profits from electricity sales. Such a move helped Pacific Gas & Electric customers save more than 118 million megawatt hours of electricity and $22 billion, and to prevent 135 million tons of CO2 from being emitted over the life of the utility’s energy efficiency programs. For California, that means per capita energy use has remained relatively stable, in marked contrast to the rest of the country, where demand has jumped by 50 percent, according to the California Energy Commission.
A startup that can help a utility save on that kind of level could convince a lot of utility customers to sign up, or at least start testing out its tools. NEA must think so, and its $14 million investment will go very far in the world of software development. Positive Energy is also an example of a company using the tools of infotech — web, software, networks — to fight climate change. For more information and companies with similar aims, check out our upcoming Green:Net conference in March in San Francisco.