Recent Posts:

CIA’s In-Q-Tel invests in Tendril

Rob Day: September 29, 2005, 8:00 PM
Following on the heels of the Sensicast funding announcement earlier this week, Tendril Networks announced an investment and business relationship with In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture finance organization. Financial details weren't released.

Sensing technology has been developing rapidly (in terms of sensitivity, lower power needs, better automation, etc.), and at the same time so has machine-to-machine communications technology, in terms of hardware, software, standards development, etc. The Sensicast and Tendril announcements this week aptly illustrate the interest by funders who see opportunities with such startups to accelerate adoption of these technologies, for applications in...

Sensicast, Nysa Membrane, and six months

Rob Day: September 26, 2005, 10:09 PM
  • Sensicast, which provides wireless communications for sensor networks for industrial and energy-system applications, announced a $13M round led by Global Environment Fund, along with existing investor Ardesta. Sensicast is in trials with GE and others, and is developing applications aimed specifically at boosting energy efficiency.
  • Burlington, Ontario's Nysa Membrane Technologies announced a C$2M Series A. The company promises "truly disruptive" performance from their filtration and separation technology. Initial applications appear to be largely targeted at the medical markets, but membrane technologies are often also applicable for cleantech uses, and the company is...

The intelligent grid pt. 3: Transmission capacity

Rob Day: September 22, 2005, 12:28 AM

More answers to the questions posed by Matt Marshall, who wrote:

“Locally, [the intelligent grid] is significant because the California Independent System Operator, which oversees most of the state's electricity system, has just approved a $300 million transmission line that brings power into S.F. from Pittsburg under the S.F. Bay. That's a whopping-big line. Sounds like the opposite of the Intelligrid, but maybe we're missing something.???

Looking at the chart of electricity prices mentioned in the last post (again, you have to scroll down on the page to see the chart), it's striking how much prices vary across the country. Why is that? Because of lack of transmission...

The intelligent grid pt. 2: Distributed generation and the grid

Rob Day: September 21, 2005, 10:18 PM
Following up on the first part of my answer to the questions posed by Matt Marshall, where we discussed why things change slowly at utilities and on the grid.

In his smart column, Matt describes a vision of an electricity transmission and distribution grid that is strengthened by more use of distributed generation sources (hopefully powered by renewables). As he writes:
"Instead of hundreds of power plants, such as giant 1,200 megawatt nuclear power plants, powering our needs, we should have millions of solar powered residences and workplaces -- or at least a power source closer to their destination -- so that a good fraction of the power doesn't get wasted in transportation. And that...

A few quick items

Rob Day: September 20, 2005, 1:36 PM
  • Plasco Energy, which has developed plasma arc technology for waste-to-energy and coal treatment applications, announced they raised a C$7.3M round (including C$4.5M from lead funder Killick Capital) to fund facilities in Ottawa and Barcelona. A pdf of the announcement is available here.

The intelligent grid is alive and well… but maturing very slowly

Rob Day: September 19, 2005, 9:33 PM
Matt Marshall, of the San Jose Mercury News and SiliconBeat, asks the question (directly of us, it must be pointed out), "is [the intelligent grid] really just politically dead in the water?"

In this post and a few to follow over the next couple of days, I hope to share with readers my viewpoint that the intelligent grid is indeed alive, and that there are innovative cleantech VC-backed companies poised to make a big push forward as part of the grid's evolution, with big market growth potential -- but we should also expect it to develop very slowly, and this has significant implications for venture investors as well.

The background: Why things move slowly

In this post, let's just...