Privately held Optimal Technologies International said Tuesday it grabbed $25 million in a second round of financing for the company's software, which claims to help utilities, businesses and institutions better control the way they consume electricity.

The investment, by Goldman Sachs International, brings Optimal's total funding to about $36 million.

The funding will go toward bringing Benicia, Calif.-based Optimal's products to the mass market.

Founded in 2000, the company has software that helps utilities monitor and control the flow of power to customers. As a result, utilities can make better-informed decisions to improve power reliability and avoid blackouts, according to Optimal.

The company claims that the Aempfast program can increase a utility's power supply by at least 10 percent. The software is undergoing pilot tests and will be available commercially early next year, the company said.

Optimal also has a new product, a combination of software and hardware that analyzes and manages energy use in commercial and residential buildings.

The product, called Surefast, also controls other building systems such as security and voice over IP. Optimal expects to roll out Surefast in the middle of next year.

In the past, energy-management investments weren't high on financial backers' lists.

For venture capitalists, "it's been a backwater market," said Tim Woodward, Nth Power managing director, Monday night in San Francisco at the California Clean Tech Open (see California Clean Tech Open Winners Score Cash, Services).

But Woodward and other investors see that changing. Driving the change is a global demand for power that is expected to increase by as much as 60 percent during the next 20 years.

Technology plays in the energy-management space will be key in getting the most out of power infrastructures.

Optimal is far from the only energy-management company looking to make the grid and energy consumption more efficient.

In May, EnerNoc (NSDAQ: ENOC) hit the public markets with an offering priced $2 higher than expected, at $25 a share.

In September, GridPoint raised $32 million as part of its fourth round of funding and Grid Net raised $6.75 million in its first round (see GridPoint Raises $32M, With More to Come).

Investing in Green Media

Cleantech Group, a greentech research, events and media company, said Monday it had scored an investing round from Credit Suisse Group and Consensus Business Group.

The Cleantech Group did not disclose the amount raised, but VentureWire reported it to be $10 million.

The Cleantech Group and its two investors also have decided to form a partnership to bulk up on investment products and services, the company said.

The move illustrates the growing interest to cover green technology using a new-media model that offers industry research alongside industry news.

In August, the Cleantech Group acquired news outlet Inside Greentech to expand its publishing portfolio.

Among the most recent entrants is Greentech Media (please excuse the shameless plug).

In May, the company raised $1 million from Northport Private Equity and Lightspeed Venture. Greentech Media's Web site launched in September.