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Fortnightly Magazine - May 2010

to leverage its existing automated meter reading (AMR) infrastructure to offer near-time energy information and management to 2,800 customers.

Mergers and Acquisitions

NavigationCapitalPartners(NCP), an Atlanta-based private equity firm, acquired Specialized Technical Services (STS), a provider of smart-grid infrastructure upgrades and meter-related services. NCP says STS is the first in a series of acquisitions planned in support of its initiative to build an industry-leading provider of value-added field and data management services to electric, water and gas utilities. NCP plans to help STS expand into a one-stop shop of high-value field and data management solutions to manage utility assets.

AREVA’s transmission and distribution division acquired PSD, an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company located in Canton, Ohio. The company employs 18 people and has more than 30 years of experience managing EPC projects. The acquisition will strengthen AREVA T&D’s presence in the U.S. market primarily for the integration of power electronics solutions for air-insulated substations, gas-insulated substations and wind farm grid-connection solutions.

Solutia reached an agreement to purchase Etimex Solar GmbH, a supplier of ethylene vinyl acetate encapsulants to the photovoltaic market. Etimex Solar is a wholly owned subsidiary of Etimex Holding GmbH, which is controlled by funds affiliated with Alpha Gruppe. The purchase price of $240 million in cash is expected to be financed from existing cash on the balance sheet and additional debt.

Trimble acquired privately-held LET Systems based in Cork, Ireland. LET Systems specializes in incident and outage management system (OMS) solutions for utilities. Financial terms were not disclosed. LET Systems provides OMS, network modeling, customer contact and mobile workforce management software for electric, gas, water and wastewater utilities.

Generation

Virent Energy Systems and Shell started production at the world’s first demonstration plant converting plant sugars into gasoline and gasoline blend components, rather than ethanol. The demonstration plant, located in Madison, Wisc., has the capacity to produce up to 10,000 gallons a year, which will be used for engine and fleet testing. This new biofuel can be blended with gasoline in high concentrations for use in standard gasoline engines. Virent says its patented BioForming platform technology uses catalysts to convert plant sugars into hydrocarbon molecules like those produced at a petroleum refinery. The sugars can be sourced from non-food feedstocks such as corn stover, wheat straw and sugarcane pulp, in addition to conventional biofuel feedstocks such as wheat, corn and sugarcane. The demonstration plant is currently using beet sugar.

Cheng Power Systems was granted the Variable Speed |Synchronous Generator (UEM) patent for wind power from the Chinese patent office. Cheng says the UEM reduces weight and physical size by 50 percent over the doubly fed electrical generator now used for wind generation, and reduces system cost. UEM is a set of electronics added to the current production generators. Further, UEM can be retrofitted to diesel generators to reduce fuel consumption for standby power generation. The company is in discussions to license the technology.

The Spanish system integrator, Assyce Fotovoltaica , is building the largest, first solar free-field solar power plant in Spain’s Extremadura region, with a