In an attempt to beef up its smart-grid business, BPL Global said Wednesday it plans to buy energy-management company Connected Energy.

The move is the latest in a trend of energy-management buyouts.

Comverge (NSDQ: COMV) bought energy-efficiency firm Public Energy Solutions for $13.4 million in October, and it bought Enerwise Global Technologies for $75.7 million in July after Enerwise acquired Clean Power Markets last year. Demand-response company EnerNOC (NASD: ENOC) acquired MDEnergy for $7.9 million in September, after buying Celerity Energy Partners and eBidenergy last year (see Energy-Management Consolidation Continues).

And earlier this month, BPL also announced it had bought Portland, Ore.-based Serveron, a company that monitors online and services transformers. Sewickley, Pa.-based BPL, which makes energy-management software and provides services to help manage peak energy demands, did not disclose the amount it would fork over for either Connected Energy or Serveron.

What do the undisclosed sums buy BPL?

With Rochester, N.Y.-based Connected Energy, BPL gets energy-management software, which creates a virtual, real-time control center for customers, allowing, say, utilities to control things like remote power generation. BPL also gets the connection hardware.

The software is designed to eliminate the need for customization and to save customers money, the company said.

BPL expects the technology will allow it to incorporate distributed energy from renewable sources like wind and solar onto a common energy-management platform.

The company said it plans to expand Connected Energy's product sales beyond North America and into Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

The boards of both companies have approved the buyout. It is now up to shareholders to give their approval.

The acquisitions point to a sector that has been heating up as of late, according to Clean Edge principal Ron Pernick, who pointed to such companies as Comverge and EnerNOC, which raised more than $90 million in a May IPO.

Pernick -- who co-authored The Clean Tech Revolution, which picked BPL as one of 10 cleantech companies to watch -- said he's been particularly intrigued by BPL investors.

In February, the company raised $26 million in a third round of financing, which Pernick said included a consortium of Kuwaiti backers -- indicating that the company might be considering the Middle East as one of the first places to expand.

But despite the surge in market activity by smart-grid players, there is still a way to go, he cautioned.

"No standards have won out yet," Pernick said. "It's like a wild-West mentality."

One way to get a leg up on the standards might be to grow quickly, bringing more companies under the same umbrella.

BPL apparently hopes to do just that. The company said it's not done acquiring companies, but declined to elaborate further.

The company has raised a total of $36 million in venture capital so far.