by Stephen Lacey
March 07, 2017

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Or at least invest in ‘em. That's the guiding philosophy for many utilities eyeing the competitive threats swirling around them.

In 2016 alone, utilities in Europe and North America invested $1 billion in distributed energy companies across solar, software, storage, combined heat and power, and a range of grid management technologies. Since 2010, utilities have invested nearly $3 billion in startups.

That tally comes from Shayle Kann and Andrew Mulherkar, who have been tracking activity. They recently...