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Intel seeds five energy start-ups with $10 million

The chip giant's venture arm boosts its presence in smart-grid technologies and low-power computing through investments.

Intel said on Wednesday its venture capital arm invested a total of $10 million in five energy-related companies, giving a glimpse into the product areas that the chip giant considers promising.

In a first-time investment, Intel Capital backed CPower, a New York company which offers energy-efficiency services such as demand-response where commercial customers get paid to dial down energy use during peak times. Intel's money is in addition to the $10.7 million CPower raised in April.

Intel participated in a series C round for Grid Net, which makes network management software for utilities to manage energy flow to buildings with smart meters. The company has licensed its WiMax smart meter design to General Electric which is testing it with utilities.

In home energy management, Intel was part of the previously announced C-round investment in iControl, which is developing a system that combines home security services with energy tracking and automation.

Intel was part of a $24.5 million investment in Convey Computer in Richardson, Texas, which does energy-efficient high-performance computing with Xeon processors.

Limerick, Ireland-based Powervation got a second investment from Intel Capital to further build efficient power controllers for computers and communications equipment.

Intel Capital said it is seeking to fund new companies in efficiency, alternative power generation, storage, transportation, and materials. It developed Open Energy Initiative, a program for funding new companies, developing standards, and lobbying.

SpectraWatt is a solar manufacturing company that was spun out of Intel last year.