429880_trilliant_logo-90Trilliant, provider of communications infrastructure used to beam energy consumption data between so-called smart meters, utilities and their customers, announced today that it is partnering with automation company ABB to make sure their technologies can talk to one another. This type of interoperability is one of the major issues impacting how and how fast the Smart Grid — a cleaner, more efficient electrical grid — takes hold in the U.S.

It seem to be all the rage these days for large companies and startups alike to form coalitions with their peers and third-party technology providers, announcing that all of them will use the same standards, allowing all their technologies to freely converse. For example, last week both IBM and Cisco announced formation of groups — or as Cisco likes to call them “ecosystems” — of companies working with the same set of standards. IBM gathered its brood by getting them all to use the same software package, called SAFE, providing basic infrastructure for Smart Grid startups. Recognizable names in these groups include Tendril, Echelon, EnergyHub, General Electric, GridPoint, Itron, Coulomb Technologies and, of course Trilliant — which seems to be roping in as many interoperability deals as it can.

In particular, Trilliant is integrating is SecureMesh communications network with ABB’s Station Automation and Protection suite. Trilliant’s network facilitates the collection of electric metering data. ABB’s products will help secure and automate these transmissions. The two companies have run performance tests of the combined technology, and report that information was channeled faster and more efficiently.

Trilliant has raised $40 million in venture funding from MissionPoint Capital Partners and Zouk Ventures.

VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, on Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Get your early-bird tickets for $495 before Sept. 30 at GreenBeat2009.com.