MicroPlanet forms smart grid joint venture in Australia

Seattle, March 3, 2011 MicroPlanet, a smart grid energy conservation company, has established a joint venture with SmartGrid Partners to pursue strategic energy efficiency opportunities in Australia and New Zealand.

The JV includes an agreement to create a new financing structure eligible for co-investment by the Australian Carbon Trust, and appoints SGP as the master distributor of MicroPlanet’s voltage optimization products in Australia and New Zealand.

The government of Australia recently announced its intention to establish a fixed carbon price and to use the proceeds from this to assist businesses in making the transition to a clean energy economy.

The Australian Carbon Trust has also commenced a national program to support energy efficiency programs. This has created a tremendous opportunity for MicroPlanet, SGP, and their partners to proceed with a coordinated program for larger scale adoption of MicroPlanet’s energy efficiency and voltage optimization products in Australia.

Similar programs in the United Kingdom have resulted in wide scale installation of Voltage Optimization products in that jurisdiction and MicroPlanet believes its first mover advantage and strong utility customer relationships in Australia position it to achieve similar results.

MicroPlanet and SGP will initiate a new venture to capitalize on financing available from The Australian Carbon Trust. The Australian Carbon Trust has earmarked significant funds for co-investments that stimulate private sector investment, and prioritizes projects that leverage additional private sector finance and are scalable, replicable and adaptable.

The new venture is expected to help fund the acquisition and installation of MicroPlanet products on a large and commercial scale. The JV will pursue this opportunity with utility and private sector investment partners and is expected to formalize and submit its application for support to the Australian Carbon Trust by June 13, 2011.

MicroPlanet and SGP have also entered into a Master Territory Alliance agreement to liase with the appropriate government and environmental agencies for support for this venture. In addition, SGP will be responsible for accelerating distribution of MicroPlanet’s utility and commercial products throughout Australia and New Zealand.

SGP is a solutions integrator established to provide strategic advisory and venture capability in the rapidly emerging smart grid domain. SGP sees great opportunity in voltage optimization applications in the Australian and New Zealand markets based on its extensive work in smart grid related activities.

SGP brings a wealth of experience in leading the development of strategies in asset management that enable the exploration of blended traditional and alternative energy solutions.

SGP expects the current drive towards alternatives to traditional network solutions will create significant opportunities for the MicroPlanet suite of smart voltage optimization products, particularly managing voltage excursion associated with the connection of large numbers of distributed PV and other renewable energy sources.

This new JV and Territory Alliance will replace a previously announced and now concluded distribution agreement with Energy Choices, a discontinued arm of Ergon Energy. MicroPlanet and SGP both maintain excellent relationships with Ergon Energy and Microplanet continues to deliver on existing purchase orders from Ergon Energy for utility voltage regulation products.

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