IBM-Spinoff Utopus Insights is the Latest Power Player

The Valhalla-based company is providing energy analytics that will help lead the charge for clean, renewable energy in Westchester and beyond.



Margaret Fox

The future of energy is clean. It is renewable. And it might just be in Valhalla.

That’s where Utopus Insights, an energy-analytics-software startup created to help provide solutions for clean, reliable, distributed, and cost-effective energy, has just set up shop. An offshoot of IBM, Utopus Insights has 33 employees (21 in Valhalla, five contractors in Budapest, and seven in Bengaluru, India), including computer scientists, energy experts, software developers — and even a meteorologist. Together, they boast 14 PhDs, have authored more than 450 technical publications, and collaborated with 28 energy-industry clients to develop smarter energy solutions.

The recently launched firm combines industry expertise with analytics to optimally plan and orchestrate energy systems, especially renewable energy. As renewable energy relies on optimal conditions — including strong winds for wind power and a shining sun for solar power — predicting renewable-energy production requires granular, hyper-local weather data. That’s where Utopus’ family of applications comes in. Its HyperCast weather-forecasting system can accurately concentrate on wind farms and solar farms within a small radius, helping to not only accurately predict solar- and wind-energy production but also determine how energy can be stored for future use on cloudy or windless days.

“Dependence on intermittent weather-dependent energy sources causes difficulties in ensuring power availability and quality,” explains founding president/CEO Chandu Visweswariah (above, seated), a Croton resident who was a longtime IBM employee working in the field of chip design. (He was named an IBM fellow, the company’s highest technical honor, in 2013.)

With an eye toward a next-generation energy grid that will require a new type of planning and architecture, Utopus’ software helps with better planning and maintenance of the electric grid, to improve reliability and reduce cost, says Visweswariah.

“Utopus Insights will be the leading provider of intelligent energy solutions  required by this transforming grid,” he explains. “Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of clean, reliable, and cost-effective distributed energy resources. We will do this by combining our energy expertise with deep analytics, to turn data into insight,” he says.

The company’s initial focus includes markets in North America, Europe, and India. Utopus Insights has three investors: Vermont-based electric-transmission company and strategic partner VELCO, minority investor Boston Consulting Group, and IBM, which invested intellectual property.

Visweswariah says that Utopus Insights will create high-tech, clean-tech, green-tech jobs in Westchester. “With the announcement of the closing of Indian Point,” he adds, “Utopus Insights keeps [Westchester] on the energy map, with forward-looking innovations.”

 

 

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