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French oil major Total stumps up for ‘energy internet’ in AutoGrid’s latest Series

Credit: AutoGrid
Total Energy Ventures, the corporate venture arm of French oil and gas company Total, has acquired a stake in energy software company AutoGrid Systems in the US firm’s latest round of Series C venture capital funding.

It joins a consortium of other Series C investors, comprising utility-backed investment firm Energy Impact Partners (EIP), big data and IoT investment fund Envision Ventures, renewable energy developer Envision Energy, and Germany-based utility E.ON, which together invested US$20 million in AutoGrid in May.

Total Energy Ventures assumes a role of ‘strategic investor’ in AutoGrid. Its undisclosed investment will support development of the AutoGrid Flex suite of internet-based energy applications, designed to help grid operators predict, control and optimise their distributed energy resources (DERs).

AutoGrid claims its AutoGrid Flex “energy internet” solutions enhance performance of both grid and wholesale DER assets, including distributed generation, battery storage and demand response resources, and provide ‘out-of-the-box’ support for residential, commercial and industrial customers.

Total Energy Ventures’ funds will also support development of the AutoGrid Energy Internet Platform, on which AutoGrid Flex is based, and expand the company’s reach in North America, Asia and Europe.

Amit Narayan, chief executive at AutoGrid said: “This investment underscores companies’ growing need to use the energy internet to optimise flexibility across a vast network of DERs if they hope to win in the new energy world.”

Christophe Tonion, chief financial officer at Total Energy Ventures, said: “Our 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.

“AutoGrid’s flexibility management applications empower the energy industry to use the energy internet to transform the traditional centralised one-way electric grid into a modern distributed bi-directional grid that extends the benefits of affordable, reliable energy to millions more people.”

Total Energy Ventures has been a busy investor in the clean energy market in recent times. It invested as part of Sunverge’s US$36.5 million Series C funding in February, and confirmed a €950 million (US$1.07 billion) acquisition of battery manufacturer Saft in May.

It took a stake in US energy storage firm Stem early last year, and retains a majority share of integrated US photovoltaic energy company SunPower.

Two of these, SunPower and Sunverge, this week announced a partnership to provide solar panels with cloud-based energy management software, which can be controlled by homeowners.

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