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Major players in grid technology have been feeling the heat of DERMS technology.  These distributed energy resource management systems have been gaining traction and popularity as technology develops new solutions to energy generation.  Companies such as National Grid and ABB have begun to investigate new ways to avoid cracking under the pressure of these new developments.

This week ABB made a partnership move to stay on top of these new software developments. The company is known for being a leader in industrial technology and equipment systems for utility and transportation companies. ABB Technology Ventures invested $12 million to finalize the partnership with Enbala Power Networks Inc.  The goal of this investment will be to get joint projects off the ground in 2017.  Although the new partners have not revealed any specific project details, we know that utility companies are seeking to enhance their advanced distribution management software (ADMS) with the DERMS technology that Enbala can deliver.

Headquartered in Vancouver, Enbala has developed energy management solutions for utility companies, grid managers, energy providers, and individual customers.  Their current technology seeks to manage demand and deliver unique alternatives to distributed energy management.  Their energy generation resources include batteries, solar PV, and on-site generators to name a few, and their technology development will not stop here.  Recent venture capital investments sum to about $42 million, meaning that we can expect Enbala to further several major R&D projects.  Investments from GE Ventures, Chrysalix Venture Capital, Obvious Ventures, and National Grid will drive technology development and pave the way for the future of grid software.

Even though ABB’s recent partnership has taken the spotlight, it is important to note National Grid’s recent investment.  This large investor-owned utility has been diversifying its energy resources.  The utility giant has recently partnered with Sunrun Inc., a company producing rooftop solar systems for residential customers.  The move reflects National  Grid’s commitment to expanding their ability to produce clean energy solutions.  National Grid’s many U.S. based utility operations, provides an attractive opportunity to boost solar energy adoption amongst residential customers.  Enbala’s role in this partnership will be to enhance the existing energy platform and better integrate the different energy systems.  The companies are expected to accomplish these tasks with large scale projects set to be released over the next year.

At the moment, Enbala seems to be the center of attention, but this could easily change over the course of the next year.  Analysts predict that the DERMS software market in the U.S. will double by 2018.  This explosive expected market growth can be attributed to the development of DERMS technology by new software startups and key players in grid operations.  The market for DERMS software is currently small, but there are still startups Enbala should look out for such as Opus One, Smarter Grid Solutions, Power Analytics, Blue Pillar, and Advanced Microgrid Solutions to name a few.

For now, the partnerships and investments that energy giants are making in Enbala’s projects highlight the opportunity and growth potential that DERMS software has to offer.  2017 should prove to be a year of significant growth and development for the currently small market.