Vestas acquires US energy analysts Utopus Insights

DENMARK: Vestas has agreed to acquire US energy analytics company Utopus Insights for approximately €80 million ($100 million), the companies have announced.

Vestas' acquisition of Utopus could help operators with forecasting accuracy and optimising output
Vestas' acquisition of Utopus could help operators with forecasting accuracy and optimising output

Utopus develops, sells and services energy analytics software to renewable energy producers, operators, manufacturers, transmission and distribution utilities, and other energy companies.

The IBM-offshoot has a range of digital products, more than 30 patents related to energy innovation, and a team of data scientists and analysts with experience in power engineering, energy software development and meteorology. It is expected to report consolidated revenues below $10 million (€8 million) for 2017.

Utopus Insights will continue as a stand-alone entity under Vestas’ services division, the companies stated, but the two will sign joint development agreements for predictive and prescriptive analytics products.

The acquisition, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018, will allow Vestas to "seize digital opportunities and expand its service offering", the Danish company said.

"Vestas' strategic objective is to accelerate the transition towards a fully decarbonised energy sector in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible — both for our customers and for our planet," said Anders Runevad, Vestas' group president and CEO.

"Acquiring Utopus Insights significantly improves Vestas' existing market-leading capabilities for advanced analytics and integrated energy software solutions.

"We will now be able to provide our customers improved forecasting, output optimisation and coordination between assets, and support the larger energy ecosystem's increased uptake of renewable energy."

Vestas believes the acquisition of Utopus will help it improve forecasting accuracy for wind energy generation, optimise output from assets across multiple sites and types of equipment, the company stated.

This, in turn, will enable it to offer customers digital solutions capable of delivering increased predictability, increased renewable energy production, more efficient operations, and better integration with energy grids, Vestas added. 

"Vestas can now provide customers with additional digital tools that can further leverage available data, increase their operational agility and help them make smarter decisions to lower their costs, increase their revenues and better manage their power plants," said Christian Venderby, group senior vice president and head Vestas’ services division.

"Joining our unequalled experience and data repository with Utopus Insights' incomparable data analytics expertise creates a digital solution powerhouse that will enable us to meet and exceed our customers' needs," he added.

New York-based Utopus grew out of IBM Research and has recently concentrated on wind and solar forecasting, congestion management, demand forecasting, renewables integration, and distributed energy resource management, through a joint development agreement with Vermont utility Velco.

IBM provided intellectual property, source code, servers, people, and patents in exchange for an equity stake in the company.

Utopus Insights CEO, Chandu Visweswariah, said: "Our mission is to accelerate an era of distributed, reliable, clean and cost-effective energy. 

"Combining with Vestas represents a quantum leap forward in our ability to accomplish that mission."

Vestas’ acquisition of Utopus Insights is subject to necessary third-party approvals being in place.

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