The current momentum behind the smart grid industry, which includes billions of dollars from the smart grid stimulus funds, is convincing utilities to partner up with new startups. Here’s the latest: Two year-old startup EnergyHub, which makes a sort of ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) for home energy management, says this morning that it is working on a smart grid trial with Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison), through which it will provide its energy dashboard, an energy web portal and other tools to a select group of ConEd’s customers.
The startup, which raised a first round from investors .406 Ventures and Physic Ventures in April, has been touting a 50-home pilot with an unnamed “east coast” customer for about a year now, and this pilot with ConEd (which is seperate from that other deal) with involve about 100 homes. (Updated)
so we’re glad to see that it’s finally been unveiled. EnergyHub’s tools will be part of a $6 million pilot project which will look at a variety of technology pieces and vendors.
ConEd is also looking for stimulus funds to build out a larger smart grid project, and has applied for $46 million from the Department of Energy in conjunction with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, smart grid software maker Viridity Energy, Boeing, Columbia University, The Prosser Group, CALM Energy and the Rudin Management Company.
EnergyHub’s dashboard is a little different from its competitors’ offerings. The dashboard itself contains enough computing power to provide detailed, Google-style spreadsheets and graphs for monitoring your energy usage and comparing it to your usage over time or to the energy consumption of other users. The device uses a touchscreen interface, connects to the Internet and uses a ZigBee wireless connection to talk to smart devices in the home. More often competitors are placing smarts in the software and web site interface, leaving the dashboard to be more of a dumb device.
While EnergyHub’s first customer announcement is with a utility, the company also plans to sell its gear directly to customers. CEO Seth Frader-Thompson told us last December that the startup is planning to launch its products to both utilities and consumers in the middle of 2009.
EnergyHub’s ConEd deal is the latest example of a young startup scoring a partnership with large utilities. Energy management company Control4 said it will supply its home energy management products for Texas utility Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative’s smart grid project — its first utility customer — if Bluebonnet manages to secure an $18.8 million stimulus grant for which it applied. ConEd is also working with 1-year-old startup Viridity Energy, which takes demand response to the next level with its software.