[#SmartGrid #スマートグリッド] Xcel社の失敗:Boulder市のスマートグリッドシティ計画、スマートメータ会社がそっぽを向いた理由=>

Xcel Energy社のスマートグリッドシティ構想は、コロラド州、Boulder市で展開しており、市内の各家庭にスマートメータを設置し、双方向通信に加え、さまざまな付加価値サービスを提供しようとしている計画。 

問題はXcel社がスマートメータ各社に対して、参画の呼びかけを行った際に、$5Mの資金の投資も合わせて要求してしまった事。  実際に町に実装するプロジェクトではありながらも、本質的にはまだ実証試験であるため、スマートメータ各社としては、導入しても費用の回収はあまり期待できない事は十分認識する中で、その補填のためにXcel社が投資を逆にスマートメータに提供するのか、と思い込んだベンダーが多かった模様。 

現実は全く逆で、Xcel社は本プロジェクトに対する自社の投資、約 $100M を回収する手立てとしてベンダーに対してプロジェクト参加費用、という形で費用請求しようとしていたことが分かり、大きな誤解に繋がった、というのが記事の内容。  

プロジェクトは 5万件の家庭にメータを設置する計画であるが、この費用の存在を知ったベンダの殆どがこのプロジェクトから撤退する結果を招いている。  Silver Springs社、Itron社、Landis+Gyrs社等、大手はすべて拒否。 

一方、GridPoint社がエネルギー管理ソフトウェアとEV充電技術等を提供することに合意したとの事。  また、Current Soft社やOSIsoft社等も参画を表明しているとの事。 


Xcel Sought Millions from Start-Ups For SmartGridCity

Pay $5 million and be in the pilot, said the utility. No thanks, said prospective partners.

MICHAEL KANELLOS 01 13 10

We thought they meant pay us $5 million.

That was a common initial reaction from execs at smart grid start-ups when mega utility Xcel Energy approached them about participating inSmartGridCity, an ambitious plan to wire up approximately 50,000 homes around Boulder with smart meters, two-way communications and other technologies

.

Then reality set in. Instead of paying these companies, Xcel wanted them to pay $5 million to participate, according to sources at smart grid companies approached about participating in the project. By paying, participants would effectively become a signature partner in the project and in all likelihood be in line to participate in larger commercial rollouts of ideas fostered during the project.

If company didn’t want to pay, it could participate by providing equipment, technology and/or services. If Xcel didn’t get any takers, the utility then said it would be willing to buy equipment.

But the $5 million figure stuck in people’s heads, particularly execs from start-ups that have spent the last few years raising money from VCs.

The tariff in part explains why many smart grid companies did not participate in the program, according to some.

“There are no Silver Springs, Itrons and Landis + Gyrs in there,” said one executive.

An Xcel spokesman declined to discuss details of any transactions with participants or other companies. Nonetheless, he added that the project wasn’t cheap. The total budget came to “upwards of $100 million,” he stated. The SmartGridCity network has largely been completed, he added.

He further added that smart grid technologies aren’t cheap. The grid functions 99.92 percent of the time and, unlike a computer networks, is spread over hundreds of miles of ever-changing terrain and must content with varying weather conditions. Smart grid has become popular because it’s cheaper than building additional power plants to accomodate new demand, but it’s still not easy. Invariably, it involves installing new hardware across distributed service areas. (The point in some ways is supported by the VC funding that the supposedly capital lite segment has attracted in the past year. Silver Spring alone has raised $275 million.)

Others sources said the unusual strategy came because Xcel didn’t want to see a rate increase to pay for it. For companies that had excess inventory or wanted a test bed it made sense, but for many companies with existing, revenue-generating pilots underway, it wasn’t the best deal.

The program did attract partners. Xcel, after all, covers eight states and garners over $9 billion in revenue a year. GridPoint, which has raised over $220 million from investors and has been actively acquiring companies, has provided demand management and electric car charging technologies to the project. Other participants include Current Group and OSIsoft. Current Group’s President Ray Gogel served as CIO at Xcel while Mike Carlson at GridPoint came from Xcel. But in the end, Xcel paid for most of the project.

Posted via email from Ippei’s @CloudNewsCenter info database

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