Startup in N. Sacramento plans electrical grid savings

A Dallas-based startup has come to Sacramento with big plans to profit from the transition to a “smarter” electricity grid.

Energy Parametrics & Communications Inc. this week announced it will open a data center and office in North Sacramento. Executives said Thursday they expect to hire as many as 70 people for the local facility in the next six months, from administrative staff to programmers, with potentially hundreds more later.

The company said applicants should e-mail its human resources director at

Energy Parametrics currently employs just 15 and its growth plans assume that its innovative technology finds a market. The company envisions a network of hundreds of small natural gas turbines that would both supply electricity to businesses and help the grid run more efficiently.

Energy Parametrics would install the turbines on site at businesses. Companies would buy the power produced, which Energy Parametrics expects to be able to offer at well below grid prices.

That part of the plan isn’t novel. Where Energy Parametrics hopes to break new ground is by intelligently operating its fleet of turbines to help make the power-supply network run more smoothly.

“We think it’s the right time … to bring grid reliability into play,” said Luke Stewart, the company’s chief executive.

Energy Parametrics has developed a proprietary strategy for monitoring the grid and detecting where and when a boost of power would improve efficiency. Assuming its turbine push succeeds, Energy Parametrics would be able to send power onto the grid from hundreds of sites.

The company hopes to make money both from power sales and by marketing its grid-optimizing technology as a service to grid operators. The Sacramento data center would process the information on grid operations and control the network of turbines.

The Obama administration has made upgrading the nation’s power network one of its energy priorities, and the federal stimulus package allocates $4.5 billion to that goal.

Locally, California State University, Sacramento, has teamed with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to pursue two federal smart-grid grants that could net the region more than $100 million.