AI at the Heart of National Grid Infrastructure Investments


The AI-driven initiatives aim to lessen the complexity of monitoring to help improve everything from maintenance planning to quality checks to design.

The health of the national energy infrastructure has been on everyone’s mind for decades. Managing this behemoth is getting a boost from initiatives based on AI and designed to cover everything from maintenance planning to quality checks to design. And now, two new investments have joined the fight against aging infrastructure.

National Grid Partners (NGP) recently announced it will invest $6 million in two data analytics startups that use artificial intelligence to protect critical infrastructure and ultimately help reduce costs for customers. This brings NGP’s total investments in emerging technology companies to $175 in the last 24 months.

NGP is the investment and innovation arm of National Grid, one of the world’s largest investor-owned energy companies. The common focus of the two new investments falls in the category of monitoring. With such vast swathes of infrastructure crossing state lines and local municipalities, a reliable monitoring system is both critical and elusive. NGP is hoping to lessen the complexity of monitoring by bringing on these two essential groups:

  • Aperio Systems: Boston-based and focused on industrial sensor data, the company brings AI and machine learning to the table for real-time feedback for data-driven decisions. They hope to reduce downtime while boosting safety and security.
  • AiDash: The Silicon Valley startup transforms operations for utility companies by using AI and satellite data for remote monitoring and disaster management. It’s hoping to focus on remote grids in danger of vegetation overgrowth and help companies transform operations.

These latest funding rounds are in line with NGP’s vision of a smarter, more streamlined infrastructure and for providing future-proof monitoring and processes as we navigate things like climate change, population shifts, and aging systems. As is the case with the current investments, many past efforts include the use of AI.

For instance, NGP previously partnered with AutoGrid, an AI and analytics software company in the distributed energy market segment. AutoGrid helps utilities automate distributed energy management. The foundation is AutoGrid’s Energy Internet Platform, which uses machine learning to process data from millions of energy assets and predict demand patterns.

National Grid wants to combine smart monitoring with far-reaching capabilities to help future proof infrastructure and bring innovation in areas such as IoT, cloud computing, and AI. The group’s overarching goal is to bring cleaner energy to the world by modernizing energy infrastructure and maintenance.

As one of the biggest investor-owned companies, National Grid began its investment strategy with the goal of disrupting itself, driving innovation, and ensuring that energy infrastructure is continually changing to not only meet global demand but exceed expectations through smart infrastructure.

Elizabeth Wallace

About Elizabeth Wallace

Elizabeth Wallace is a Nashville-based freelance writer with a soft spot for data science and AI and a background in linguistics. She spent 13 years teaching language in higher ed and now helps startups and other organizations explain - clearly - what it is they do.

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