Utilities embrace Green Button energy data project

Nine more utilities, and three large energy vendors, announced support on Thursday for the Green Button project, which enables utility customers to download their energy consumption data with a click of a button and also use that data for energy-saving apps.

Even With Stimulus, Smart Grid Could Face Rough Year

The smart grid might have launched into the mainstream lexicon recently with GE’s (s GE) super bowl ad and funding included in the current stimulus package, but the budding industry could falter out of the gate in this economic climate. Smart grid companies are showing some concern over utilities slowing down smart grid rollout plans in the near term, and the stimulus package is actually just a drop in the bucket of the investment needed to launch a nationwide smart grid.

This morning, Echelon (s ELON), which develops networking products to make the power grid smarter, reported a drop in earnings for the three month period ending December 31 — the company reported $36.8 million in revenues, with a loss of $6.26 million, down from $46.9 million in revenues, and a net income of $912,000 for the year earlier. The company’s CEO, Ken Oshman, also expressed slight concern over how the economic slowdown has hindered progress on utilities’ smart grid projects. Oshman added, though, that its utilities contacts in western Europe and North America will help Echelon deliver “modest growth” for its smart grid network products for the year.

Earlier this week, analysts at UBS downgraded Itron (s ITRI), a heavyweight smart meter maker, and said while the company: “may receive new [advanced metering infrastructure] awards at some point in 2009, we believe this is balanced with a risk that ‘09 guidance is revised downwards at some point due to utility capex cuts and/or AMI project delays.”
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