“Boosting “Renew Home”: SIP provides $100M to unite Google Nest and OhmConnect”

OhmConnect is currently active in California, Texas, and New York, and the new company, Renew Home, plans to expand into new markets once launched, the spokesperson added. Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners itself was once a part of Sidewalk Labs. Sidewalk Labs got its start originally as a Google moonshot in 2015 with the lofty goal of using tech to improve urban life. SIP was eventually spun out of Sidewalk Labs in 2020 fuelled with a $400 million investment from Google. Nest Renew has been one of OhmConnect’s customers, alongside Sensi, ecobee, Carrier and others.

Google’s Nest Renew service is now taking a new direction in its mission to streamline Google’s non-core business operations. Introducing Renew Home, the result of a spinout and merger between Nest Renew and load shifting service OhmConnect, owned by Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP). The development comes as SIP invests $100 million and becomes the majority owner of the new company.

While Google will remain a minority shareholder, this move highlights the ongoing efforts of Google, SIP, and their partners to solidify long-term business models in the clean energy industry. It also sheds light on the challenges faced by the industry in integrating renewable energy into the grid. Despite there being millions of Nest thermostats sold, Nest Renew has only managed to attract less than 225,000 users.

“We’re incredibly excited about this transaction. Renew Home will optimize the way households across the country consume energy and interact with the electrical grid, strategically aligning their energy consumption to reduce their energy bills while reducing pressure on the grid.” – Jonathan Winer, co-founder and co-CEO of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners.

One of the key benefits of Renew Home will be its ability to mitigate the intermittency of renewable energy. By encouraging households to shift their energy consumption to off-peak times or times when “cleaner” grid options are available, Renew Home and the broader virtual power plant (VPP) industry will play a crucial role in increasing the use of renewable energy on the grid.

The merger of Nest Renew and OhmConnect is just the latest in a series of spinouts from Google and its partners.

In 2020, SIP spun out of Sidewalk Labs and received a $400 million investment from Google. Meanwhile, Sidewalk Labs became part of Alphabet before being absorbed by Google in 2021, with one of its divisions (Canopy) spun out as a separate entity.

OhmConnect, initially a side project of SIP, continued to receive support as a minority shareholder and has since grown to over 225,000 customers across different thermostat brands and other partners. However, with millions of Nest thermostats being used in the US, there is potential for Renew Home to expand and onboard more users.

In addition to load shifting, Renew Home has plans to offer “whole-home energy management,” including EV charging and solar systems.

This will involve developing partnerships with other hardware manufacturers and further enhancing their energy management software, giving customers more control over their energy consumption. Set to account for 30GW of shiftable load and reach 10 million homes by 2030, Renew Home is poised to make a significant impact in the clean energy industry.

While there are other players in the market, including electricity companies themselves, offering load shifting services, Renew Home’s plans for expansion and innovation set it apart in the rapidly changing landscape of clean energy. Only time will tell if they can successfully integrate renewable energy into the grid and drive down overall energy consumption and costs for households.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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