ABB invests in smart-grid communications company

ABB has invested $20m (£13m) in California-based Trilliant, a provider of smart-grid communications infrastructure that enables major improvements in energy efficiency and grid reliability.

ABB is part of a syndicate that invested a total of $106m in Trilliant’s recently announced second round of financing.

The investment has been made through ABB Technology Ventures, its venture capital arm, with a syndicate led by Investor Growth Capital and VantagePoint Venture Partners.

The deal gives ABB a link to Trilliant’s end-to-end system for smart-grid communications.

Trilliant provides utilities with wireless mesh networks that enable two-way communication from the head-end operations centre to all devices on the grid. This encompasses meters and in-home energy management devices plus substations and grid equipment such as transformers and capacitor banks.

This investment by ABB builds on its existing co-operation with Trilliant, announced in September 2009, where the two companies demonstrated the interoperability of Trilliant’s SecureMesh communications network with ABB’s station automation and protection products.

‘Solutions for intelligent and secure communication from the neighbourhood level to the wide-area network are what many utilities are seeking,’ said Bazmi Husain, head of ABB’s smart-grid initiative.