Can legacy energy players remake themselves by scooping up analytics firms?

Energy sector investments in big data and artificial intelligence have ballooned by a factor of 10 this year, according to a new report on the sector.

The study, by accountancy firm BDO, found mergers and acquisitions involving energy companies and AI startups had soared in average value from around $500 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $3.5 billion in the second quarter.

The number of deals also went up, from six to eight. The 14 deals in the first half of this year compares to 15 in the whole of 2016. “We are witnessing the early stages of what will become

GTM Squared will live-stream all panels from U.S. Power & Renewables Summit 2017. Squared members get exclusive access to the live broadcast and the video-on-demand after the event. See the broadcast agenda below and join today to make sure you don't miss any insights!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 (all times CT)

8:40 a.m.-9:15 a.m. A New Playbook for Power Generation Markets: Planning for a Renewable Dominated Future
  • Prajit Ghosh, Head, Americas Power & Renewables Research, Wood Mackenzie
  • Shayle Kann, Head of GTM Research & Senior Vice President, Greentech Media
  • Dan Shreve, Partner, MAKE Consulting
     
9:15 a.m.-9:45

Can legacy energy players remake themselves by scooping up analytics firms?

Energy sector investments in big data and artificial intelligence have ballooned by a factor of 10 this year, according to a new report on the sector.

The study, by accountancy firm BDO, found mergers and acquisitions involving energy companies and AI startups had soared in average value from around $500 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $3.5 billion in the second quarter.

The number of deals also went up, from six to eight. The 14 deals in the first half of this year compares to 15 in the whole of 2016. “We are witnessing the early stages of what will become

REstore, the Belgian startup that’s taken a leading role in Europe’s emerging demand response markets, has been acquired by U.K.-based utility and energy provider Centrica for €70 million ($81.4 million) in cash. It’s the latest acquisition in a year busy with European utilities shopping for startups to help them compete in a distributed energy future. 

Friday’s deal will give Centrica control of REstore’s portfolio of 1.7 gigawatts and counting of peak load across the U.K., France, Belgium and Germany. Since its 2010 founding, REstore has grown from a few megawatts of industrial load to more than 150 industrial and commercial customers including ArcelorMittal, Praxair, Sappi and Barclays.

Utilities cut way back on infrastructure investments in the 1990s, delaying tens of billions of dollars in upgrades.

Those investments started to pick up after the 2009 stimulus package and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The more recent surge in utility-scale renewables, plus a range of distributed resources like batteries, rooftop solar, EVs and microgrids, has also spurred new grid modernization activity.

The latest energy industry update from energy consulting firm Scott Madden looks at new infrastructure spending as a result of the changing grid mix.

“What we’re seeing is a grid that’s being asked to do very different things,” said Christen Lyons, partner and

Pruitt to industry: the EPA's doors are wide open.

Since taking over as administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt's meeting calendar has been filled almost exclusively with industry interests. 
Now he's opening the door even wider for industry.
On Tuesday, the Administrator issued a new decree: any scientist getting funding from the EPA will no longer be allowed to serve on the agency's scientific advisory board. He's replacing scientists with representatives from the chemical, fossil fuel and utility industries.
The scientific community is up in arms, saying there is already a very detailed process for ensuring scientific integrity and avoiding conflicts. Former EPA officials who served in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations

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