Koch Moves Toward Intelligent Grid Platform with Sentient Acquisition

March 27, 2020 by Paul Shepard

Koch Engineered Solutions (KES), a unit of Koch Industries Inc., has acquired Sentient Energy. Sentient Energy is a leader in distribution grid transformation, providing intelligent line sensors and grid analytics software for fault detection, outage prevention, and safe, reliable power delivery.

“The acquisition of Sentient Energy is an exciting and important first step toward building an intelligent electric grid platform within KES,” said Don Brown, Vice President of Business Development at KES. “We believe the complementary capabilities of Sentient Energy and Koch Industries, such as our mutual expertise in sensors, software, and data analytics, will allow KES to build an important new business that offers solutions to make distribution grids more efficient and sustainable in the years to come. Sentient Energy has recorded exceptional growth over the years, and Koch’s global capabilities will help it scale even faster.”

Due to advances in technology and growing energy usage among businesses and households, the current electric distribution grid system is increasingly under stress. Aging infrastructure combined with rising distributed generation, such as rooftop solar panels, further penetration of electric vehicles, and the advent of microgrids, are making it more challenging for owners and operators of electric distribution grids to safely and reliably operate. The need to have better insights into the grid has never been greater.

Sentient Energy’s capabilities and innovative solutions enable electric utilities to significantly improve grid safety and reliability, lower grid management costs, extend the useful life of existing infrastructure, and prepare the grid for the increasing growth in distributed energy resources.

Sentient Energy’s Grid Analytics System is unique in that it covers the entire distribution grid - overhead, lateral, and underground circuits. Their capabilities complement KES’s deep expertise in industrial value chains and will allow both companies to provide greater value for their customers – and ultimately for the end users who rely on electric power in their daily lives.

"The addition of Sentient Energy to KES is a natural step in our vision to become a preferred partner in delivering superior value by developing, integrating, and applying innovative technical and service solutions for industrial, and now electric utility, value chains,” added Dave Dotson, President of KES. “Similar to what we are doing in areas like mass transfer, combustion engineering, and separation, our vision to build an intelligent electric grid platform underscores our commitment to providing solutions that help our partners and customers solve their highest value challenges.”

Over $7 trillion is expected to be invested in electric transmission and distribution infrastructure through 2040, and currently only one percent of North America’s six million miles of power distribution lines are covered by intelligent sensors. Sentient Energy’s leadership in this industry along with KES’s time-tested solutions and capabilities will be crucial in revolutionizing the current distribution grid infrastructure and converting it to an intelligent electric grid that will serve generations to come.

“KES’s drive to create a new intelligent grid platform capable of meeting the distribution grid needs of today and tomorrow is exciting and innovative. Sentient Energy’s Grid Analytics System creates a strong foundation in which to build upon. The Sentient Energy team is excited to work with KES and be part of the journey forward,” said from Jim Keener, CEO of Sentient Energy.