ABB Selection and Investment Propel Enbala Into Heart of DERMS Solutions

ABB has selected the Symphony platform from Enbala Power Networks as a central component of its Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS). To prime the effort, ABB has led a $12 million round of Series-B venture financing for Enbala Power Networks, along with new strategic investors National Grid, and long-time investors GE Ventures, Chrysalix Venture Capital and Obvious Ventures.

These announcements reinforce the position of Smart Grid Northwest member Enbala as a leading player in the challenge to manage an increasing amount of intermittent renewable energy sources, along with battery storage and other distributed energy resources. According to Enbala, the new distributed energy resource management (DERMS) solution being jointly developed with ABB will “enable utilities to manage the entire lifecycle of distributed energy resources from registration to optimization, control and settlements, while ensuring safe, secure and efficient operation of the electric distribution network.”

The selection puts Symphony at the core of ABB DERMS offering as an extension of the ADMS. ABB is integrating our technology with their platform to offer their utility customers a complete DERMS system from the back office out to large scale distributed energy resources.” – Bud Vos, President and CEO.

ABB and Enbala demonstrated their DERMS development project at the 2017 DistribuTECH conference. According to this article in GTM, the combination creates “an extension of [the ABB] grid software to behind-the-meter resources. That can include solar PV, on-site generators, batteries and other generation assets, as well as pumps, chillers, fans, lights, and other energy-consuming devices that can be turned on and off in response to on-site or grid-side needs. DERMS technology is a hot commodity among forward-looking utilities, particularly those in regions with lots of customer-sited rooftop PV.”

But managing solar PV is not the big picture for Enbala. “We see a transition to continuous optimization programs,” says Vos. “We see a desire for virtual power plant (VPP) solutions, continuously controlling and continuously optimizing assets at any time of day.” While the Enbala Symphony platform actively controls about 50MW of energy resources today, the challenge will be to scale it up to management across thousands of assets.

Watch this video for an introduction to the Symphony platform.

Enbala now has the opportunity to leverage the ABB sales channel as an avenue into more utility customers. “We will work with ABB to deploy the solutions to their customers and continue to maintain and extend our direct sales force to our customers,” says Vos. He also says that Enbala is plans to announce new projects in the Pacific Northwest and California soon.

I am excited to bring together ABB’s deep experience in distribution and energy market operations with Enbala’s best-in-class software to design a solution tailored to the unique needs of our global client base, many of whom are leading the charge in integrating distributed energy resources.” – Grant Allen, Head of ABB Technology Ventures.

The new round of funding brings Enbala’s total venture capital raised to date to about $42 million. In 2016, Enbala was named the industry’s #1 provider of virtual power plant software by Navigant Research.