EnerNOC Buys Cogent Energy to Build Up Efficiency Biz

Boston-based demand response firm EnerNOC wants to expand its energy efficiency business — and it has just acquired a 30-person company called Cogent Energy, based in Concord, Calif., to accelerate the effort. In particular, EnerNOC says in a release this morning that Cogent’s tech and experience in monitoring-based commissioning services, or MBCx — essentially analyzing a building’s energy use and then helping a customer fine-tune it for maximum efficiency – will allow the firm to serve smaller facilities that have less sophisticated control systems than its current network of industrial, commercial and institutional power users.

EnerNOC’s main business involves using software infrastructure to help utilities and some of their biggest customers — from manufacturers and data centers to hotels, retail chains and universities – slash non-essential energy usage, particularly during periods of peak demand. The acquisition announced today (without details on the financial terms of the deal), one of several in the last two years, could help EnerNOC grow its base and MBCx business. EnerNOC says it “significantly increases the size” of its market opportunity. That may be an important step for EnerNOC as more players enter the energy management and smart grid markets with new technology.

EnerNOC, which went public in 2007, has been posting losses for years, but those losses started to shrink as more businesses signed up for its service. As CEO Tim Healy explained in a call to discuss its financial performance this summer, “Adding new megawatts to our demand-response network doesn’t require the same kind of investment as it did in earlier stages when we were building our network.”

EnerNOC recently expanded into the MBCx space with a system developed in-house, explaining on its web site that the company can “identify a prioritized list of savings opportunities” for customers to pursue on their own. “We perform the integration and conduct the analysis, so that you know more about your facilities, and you can make the changes that will help cut costs,” EnerNOC explains. What Cogent brings with it, in addition to its building analysis system, is a stable of more than 200 past and present customers, according to today’s release, including some Golden State heavyweights: California State University, the University of California, the city and county of San Francisco, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab — and the state itself.

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