Total makes Strategic Investment in AutoGrid

September 15, 2016 by Jeff Shepard

AutoGrid Systems announced that Total Energy Ventures (TEV), the corporate venture arm of Total S.A. has joined its Series C-2 funding round as a strategic investor. Previous TEV investments in the "smart energy" area include Sunverge and Stem. Total is also the majority owner of global leaders SunPower, in solar power, and SAFT, in high technology batteries.

The additional funding from this strategic investor will support further development of the company’s AutoGrid Flex suite of flexibility management applications for predicting, controlling and optimizing distributed energy resources (DERs) via the Energy Internet and strengthen AutoGrid’s solution capabilities in North America, Asia and Europe. In addition, Total’s deep understanding of the solar power, battery storage, power generation and other sectors of the energy industry will inform AutoGrid as it continues to expand its AutoGrid Energy Internet Platform’s (EIP) and its flexibility management applications’ ability to help utilities and energy service providers increase customer engagement, deliver new value added services and maximize the utilization of their own and their customers’ energy assets.

TEV joins a consortium of other Series C-2 investors which invested $20 million in AutoGrid in May, as announced previously. The consortium includes the utility-backed fund Energy Impact Partners (EIP), an investment firm representing four of the largest utilities in the United States and United Kingdom, and Envision Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based fund focused on software for big data, the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and security. The consortium also includes Envision Energy, one of the largest renewable energy developers and technology providers in the world with over 50 gigawatts of assets under management and E.ON, one of the largest utilities and renewable energy developers in the world.

"TEV’s investment in AutoGrid extends our firm’s involvement in digital energy solutions that enable increased use of solar, wind, battery storage and other clean energy technologies,” said Christophe Tonion, Senior Investment Manager & CFO at Total Energy Ventures. "AutoGrid’s flexibility management applications empower the energy industry to use the Energy Internet to transform the traditional centralized one-way electric grid into a modern distributed bi-directional grid that is more efficient and extends the benefits of affordable, reliable energy to millions of more people around the world.”

“Today’s energy customers -- both residential and commercial -- are no longer just simple price takers. They expect to be engaged with their utilities and energy service providers and be able to maximize the value of their energy choices, including their investments in solar power, battery storage, smart lighting systems and other DERs,” said Cindi Choi, Senior Director, Global Strategy and Business Development at SunPower. “AutoGrid’s flexibility management applications allow energy service providers to deliver new types of value added services to these customers, services that help them lower their energy bills and better monetize their energy assets.”

“We are delighted to welcome Total to our investor group. This investment underscores companies’ growing need to use the Energy Internet to optimize flexibility across a vast network of DERs if they hope to win in the new energy world,” said Dr. Amit Narayan, CEO of AutoGrid. “Total’s extensive industry knowledge and global market reach will accelerate AutoGrid’s efforts to build and deliver flexibility management applications that enable a smarter Energy Internet.”

Built on top of the AutoGrid Energy Internet Platform (EIP), AutoGrid Flex is an integrated suite of Energy Internet software applications that enables utilities and energy service providers to build next-generation renewable-friendly energy networks by managing and optimizing DERs in real-time while engaging customers, enhancing reliability and reducing operating expenses. Designed to optimize all DER asset categories including distributed generation, battery storage and demand response resources, AutoGrid Flex provides out-of-the-box support for all prevalent grid services and wholesale market programs spanning all customer segments – residential, commercial and industrial.

The AutoGrid Flex application suite includes: AutoGrid Demand Response Management and Optimization System (DROMS): AutoGrid DROMS is a comprehensive, dispatch-grade demand response management system (DRMS) that unifies management of all DR programs, assets and customer segments, delivers a rich, engaging experience to DR program participants and provides advanced analytics for reliable, accurate, highly targeted dispatch.

AutoGrid Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS): AutoGrid DERMS connects to and manages all types of DERs, including smart inverters and battery storage, to support distribution operations and enable ancillary services.

AutoGrid Virtual Power Plant (VPP): AutoGrid VPP can aggregate tens of thousands of flexible resources, creating a single dispatch-patch resource that can be used to monetize these assets in wholesale energy markets in real time.