Calico Energy Emerges in Energy Management World, Partners with EPA

8/13/10

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generation to supply—when the grid gets over-burdened with that much usage, things break. So what they want to do is reduce that load,” Dawson says.

Even if cases of demand response only happen five or six times a year, they are exceedingly costly for both the consumer and the provider, he says.

Calico’s software allows energy providers to handle the whole transaction—launching a demand response event, enrolling participants, assessing their energy usage reduction, and paying customers accordingly.

The company has intentionally kept a low public profile, so that it could first focus on building a strong customer base, Dawson says. But now that their business is growing, Calico feels it’s time to come out in the national energy scene.

Calico will soon be announcing a Service and Product Partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star program. An Energy Star certification program helps buildings quantify their energy usage, and make changes to cut costs and curb energy consumption. The partnership acknowledges Calico’s ability to help clients manage their energy and meet goals. It is a big deal that provides independent validation to the startup, Doggett says.

“There have been studies that show that there’s as much as a 16 percent increase in the value of the property if it’s Energy Star certified,” he says. “The EPA awards very few companies. It’s basically a partnership certification that says this is a solution that helps companies to meet Energy Star certification goals.”

So how does Calico stack up to other smart grid energy management companies like Tendril, OPower, and GridPoint? It really all comes back to the breadth of energy management capable through each. While there has been an “explosion of companies that are doing all sorts of hardware, and software, and services in this space, Doggett says, Calico is the only company that is able to integrate with all of them. That, according to Dawson and Doggett, is what makes them truly different.

“What you’re seeing within the space is a lot of fragmentation. A big challenge for our customers is how do I create a solution to my problem out of all these different point solutions? We were brought in to integrate all those different solutions and make them provide one point of access for the data, and the analytics, and understanding what does this information mean, and how do I, as a utility, leverage it to reduce usage? We arguably compete over five or six different industry segments because of the fact that we have a platform,” Doggett says.

The flexibility, he adds, is what makes them able to reach a variety of customers. “While we can provide an end-to-end solution, we’re not hard-over on that because utilities already have existing systems and requirements,” he says. “In order to be able to succeed, you have to integrate with those, because a utility is not going to go back and re-install a million meters just because your solution doesn’t play with them.”

So what’s next for this relatively new company in the up-and-coming energy market? Calico isn’t saying whether it plans to raise more venture capital, or hire more staff, but Dawson did say his company is profitable and looking to grow. Calico has, a “very well thought-out growth plan,” he says.

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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