Siemens Gets Domestic With Tendril

on June 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

On the heels of yesterday’s White House announcement of a multifaceted initiative on smart grid technology, Siemens undertook a major project of its own.

I have trouble enough keeping up with my e-mail; checking my thermostat 300 times a day isn’t going to happen

Monday morning, the global technology company announced it was investing several million dollars in the residential smart meter technology of Tendril, an energy platform company.

Tendril refused to disclose the exact amount of the investment, but said that Siemens will also be helping specifically “with market and technology insight, guidance on operational and financial questions and with contacts.”

“I can tell you that with the investment from Siemens Venture Capital, Tendril’s total series D financing round is over $25M,” Tendril spokesperson Josh Tobin told Breaking Energy.

President of the US Siemens Smart Grid Business Unit, Paul Camuti, told Breaking Energy that automation of these residential devices was a critical part of their mass deployment.

“I have trouble enough keeping up with my e-mail; checking my thermostat 300 times a day isn’t going to happen,” he said.

Although Siemens has been working heavily with commercial and industrial clients on demand response technologies and has invested more than €30 million in smart grid technology since 2000, the residential sector of the business is an area in which it has little expertise.

“This is not an acquisition of a company, it’s a strategic investment in a company that is working with keen focus on individual customers,” Camuti said.

Once the Siemens-backed Tendril begins partnering with utilities to provide consumers with incentives to install smart meters, the national smart grid will be only small steps away.

Camuti quoted Winston Churchill who said, “you can always count on Americans to do the right thing when all their alternatives have been exhausted.”

“We’ve become a little complacent because the price and availability [of electricity] in the United States is phenomenal, but nonetheless, the number of people who are going to say, ‘I don’t care about this’ is going to become smaller and smaller.”

Breaking Energy spoke extensively with Tendril CEO Adrian Turk; hear the podcast of that conversation here.