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VERGE Roundup: Tapping Vehicle-to-Grid Power & More

Editor's Note: More and more companies are expanding their businesses to serve the increasingly connected world of vehicles, energy, buildings and the IT networks that bring the technology together in the built environment.

GreenBiz Group calls this concept VERGE and will be offering readers a steady flow of articles and resources on the subject (here is a collection of coverage thus far) as well as occasional roundups of industry developments.

• Tapping Vehicle-to-Grid Power: In Japan, specially equipped Priuses are generating and storing electricity to aid the earthquake-and-tsunami ravaged country. Now, the New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc. is working with the University of Delaware on technology that will enable owners of electric vehicles to sell energy stored in the batteries of their parked EVs to the grid.

Ostensibly these "electric storage services" would help stabilize the grid, but they also would help EV owners by providing them extra cash.

Details on the University of Delaware's work on vehicle-to-grid technology, which the researchers are short-handing as V2G, are available here. Here are NRG Energy's plans for technology, which the firm is calling eV2g, as well as an article by CNET News.

• ZigBee Becomes Lingua Franca for Building Automation: Convergence Wireless, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Ingersoll-Rand, Ubilogix and other major industry players in the building automation field have developed and approved a ZigBee standard for open communication among building management systems.

ZigBee is a global wireless language that enables different devices and systems to "talk" to each other. Such communication is an essential factor for smarter buildings, the smart grid and VERGE.

More details on the new standard are available at ZigBee standards are being applied to a range of wireless solutions for the built environment.

• Drive for Innovation Comes to Boston: The Drive for Innovation, a campaign by Avnet Express and UBM Electronics to showcase automotive and electronics innovation, arrived in Boston this week. The pit stop for the cross-country tour, which features a 2011 Chevy Volt, comes to Massachusetts as the state is highlighting its work to help put cleaner vehicles on the road.

Boston took the wraps off its first on-street EV charging station in May and in July, Massachusetts announced the installation of 94 EV charging stations in 25 cities and communities in the commonwealth.

• Power Assure Snags $13.5M in Funding: The Santa Clara firm that specializes in energy management solutions and infrastructure for data centers landed the sum in Series B financing led by strategic partner ABB. Existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Good Energies, and Judith Point Capital also participated, according to Power Assure.

With the latest round of equity financing, Power Assure has raised a total $28.75 million. It also received $5 million matching grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The company's clients include NASA.

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