GE snaps up Irish smart grid company

You knew there MUST be an ulterior motive to the GE ecoimagination contest: The giant technology and services company has decided to acquire one of the winners of the "2010 ecoimagination Challenge: Powering the Grid" competition, FMC-Tech. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the transaction should be finalized by July.

You knew there MUST be an ulterior motive to the GE ecoimagination contest: The giant technology and services company has decided to acquire one of the winners of the "2010 ecoimagination Challenge: Powering the Grid" competition, FMC-Tech. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the transaction should be finalized by July.

FMC-Tech, based in Shannon, Ireland, develops technology that lets utility operators keep better tabs on capacity, line faults and such. In other words, its technology adds more intelligence into the distribution system itself. The company will become part of GE Energy Services' Digital Energy Smart Substation business.

In a press release announcing the deal, the CEO for the digital energy unit of GE Energy Services, Bob Gilligan, described the business value:

"Utility operators can better balance the load by managing capacity and optimizing the amount of power sent through a line. Maintenance and repair crews can be more effectively dispatched for increased productivity, improved reliability and greater customer satisfaction."

The GE ecoimagination challenges are intended to help unearth technologies and technology ideas that might be relevant to GE's broad portfolio in green and cleantech. The smart grid competition doled out a total of $200 million put up by GE and four venture capital firms. Winners for the latest edition of the contest, focused on "Powering Your Home," should be announced in the near future.