Smart grid startups compete for highly variable venture funding

Venture capital industry interest and investment in smart grid startups has been up and down over the past five years, ranging from a peak of nearly $316 million in 2009 to around $100 million or less in 2011 (as of the end of September). There’s reason to be optimistic about the future growth of the sector, however. Powerful fundamental factors — the shift to cleaner, renewable energy sources and market deregulation among them — continue to support growth, as do smart grid proponents and technology providers.

Investor Vinod Khosla scoffs at smart grid wannabes

Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla continued to warn against the hype around smart grid technologies this afternoon, taking aim at two main targets — consumer technology that he argued isn’t really part of the smart grid and environmentalists, who bring wishful thinking to the smart grid debate.

On the GreenBeat: Elster files for IPO, NRG to buy Green Mountain for $350 million

Smart meter systems company Elster has filed for an IPO, offering 16.2 million initial shares that will be priced between $16 and $18. It is expected to net $152 million from the offering. As Green Tech Media notes, the company’s main business is in gas, and it hasn’t made significant headway into the advanced metering infrastructure business. The IPO would presumably to go pay off some of its debt.

On the GreenBeat: GridPoint nearing IPO, smart meters win in PG&E and Oncor disputes

Smart grid company GridPoint is nearing a public stock offering, possibly beating Silver Spring  to the IPO punch, speculates the Washington Business Journal. The article notes that GridPoint has raised $220 million from venture capital and needs to show a payoff soon for its investors. The company has also done well in the marketplace, winning a $28.7 million contract with the Postal Service, making several acquisitions and hiring executives who have IPO experience.