June 1 French industrial conglomerate Schneider
Electric (SCHN.PA) boosted its position in the growing market
for technology to make electricity distribution more efficient,
offering $2 billion for Spanish software firm Telvent TLVT.O.
From providing transmission interconnections to installing
and managing meters, Europe's major industrial firms have a
plethora of ways of selling into the growing smart grid sector.
Smart grids are electricity networks that integrate
generators and consumers to make power supply more efficient and
sustainable. This modernisation creates the need for
communications systems, data integration and other software,
smart meters, security systems and a host of other services.
Here is a summary of how some of Europe's largest capital
goods companies tap into the smart grid market:
Together with French peer Alstom (ALSO.PA), Schneider last
year completed the acquisition of Areva T&D, the transmission
and distribution businesses of Areva CEPFi.PA, boosting its
position in the smart grid market.
Schneider sells into the smart grid energy management market
by providing distribution management, demand response and meter
infrastructure, which includes switchboards and protections
relays, as well as offering communication and IT solutions.
Schneider is also involved in pilots to develop charging
stations for electric vehicles, while its buildings division is
active in energy efficiency solutions applicable to smart grids.
Schneider has turned to IT firms before to enhance its
portfolio. In 2010 it launched a "smarter buildings" solution
with IBM (IBM.N) to complement connectivity to the smart grid
and reduce energy operating costs by up to 30 percent.
Traditionally strong in grid infrastructure, the Swiss
engineering group has also been looking to widen its portfolio,
acquiring U.S. software company Ventyx and investing in U.S.
communications network firm Trilliant TTXP.OB.
Among ABB's ABBN.VX offerings are flexible transmission
systems, high-voltage solutions, network management tools,
distribution equipment and automation systems to integrate
renewable energy sources into the grid.
ABB is also involved in several smart grid pilots across the
globe, including in Germany and India.
The company is also keen on IT buys. Last month it acquired
Australian software company Mincom which is active in smart
grids but also a major supplier of the natural resources sector,
with customers including 17 of the top 20 global mining groups.
The German conglomerate is a market leader in energy
automation systems but has also enhanced its smart metering
offering following the acquisition of German IT services
provider Energy4U in August 2009.
Its offerings include high-voltage power transmission,
current compensation systems for alternating-current grids,
turnkey installations such as substations and distribution and
power transformers and IT products for utilities.
Siemens (SIEGn.DE) also specialises in so-called grid
intelligence, with offerings such as power flow control, energy
and congestion management and grid monitoring.
Sources: Company websites
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by Louise Heavens)