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The winners of the inaugural GreenBeat Innovation Competition — a survey of the most promising technologies and companies working toward a cleaner, more efficient grid — were just announced following four-minute presentations from the top eleven finalists (“eleven is the new ten”). Locust Storage, while launched its innovative storage system today, and demand response provider CPower declared victory, winning a slot at the DEMO Spring conference in 2010.

The winner were selected by a panel of expert judges, including Accel Partners’ Rich Wong, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Tim Carey, KPMG’s Craig Lobdell and Spring Ventures founder Sunil Paul. The Innovation Competition itself was hosted by Mayfield Fund and moderated by the firm’s managing director Navin Chaddha.

Screen shot 2009-11-19 at 1.25.45 PMLocust Storage emerged from stealth mode today, launching an enterprise and data center energy storage system that promises to reduce energy use by up to 90 percent for its customers. It does this by “providing excess energy when driven under hard use and storing energy when demand is low,” according to founder and CEO Seth Georgion “the key is to power the discs down when they aren’t in use.” The company is looking for a first round of investment, with a plan to launch the product in beta in the first quarter, followed up by a general release in the third. Based in Campbell, Calif., the company has rightly attracted a lot of interest from data center owners. “Too many people are already writing us checks,” Georgion said following the competition.

The company says that its storage systems will easily handle petabytes (1 petabyte is equivalent to all Facebook photos right now) as well as exabytes, the equivalent of 10 trillion Facebook photos, 10billion YouTube videos, 129 trillion emails and 6 million blu-ray movies. Another feature that makes Locust’s systems unique: They are wireless.

cpower_inc-fullCPower, a more established company that runs demand response programs, also took home the prize. Much like its competitors EnerNOC and Comverge, the New York-based firm provides financial incentives for industrial commercial companies to cut their power consumption when the grid experiences peak demand levels that could cause outages. It already enjoys extensive partnerships with utilities and grid operators, which should also help it gain more market share.

So far, CPower has raised two rounds of funding — the second, amounting to $10.7 million in April of this year. It is backed by Mayfield Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners, Expansion Capital Partners, Schneider Electric Ventures, New York City Investment Fund and Consensus Business Group.

Look for these two companies, and the other nine finalists — R2EV, Viridity Energy, Current Group, Grid Net, Consert, Xtreme Power, Econetix, Control4 and BuildingIQ — to make waves in the Smart Grid space in the next several months.

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