MicroPlanet Announces Australian Partnership for Smart Grid Voltage Optimization Products; Announces Product Deployment by Additional Utilities

Mar 03, 2011, 09:15 ET from MicroPlanet Technology Corp.

Stock Listing: MP:TSXV
Stock Listing (US): MCTYF: OTC
Web Site: www.microplanet.com

SEATTLE, March 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - MicroPlanet, (MP:TSXV & MCTYF:OTC) a smart grid energy conservation company, announced today that the Company has established a Joint Venture ("JV") with SmartGrid Partners ("SGP") (see: www.smartgridpartners.com.au ) to pursue strategic energy efficiency opportunities in Australia and New Zealand. The JV includes an agreement to create a new financing structure eligible for co-investment by the Australian Carbon Trust, and appoints SGP as the master distributor of MicroPlanet's voltage optimization products in Australia and New Zealand.

The Government of Australia recently announced its intention to establish a fixed carbon price and to use the proceeds from this to assist businesses in making the transition to a clean energy economy. The Australian Carbon Trust has also commenced a national program to support energy efficiency programs (see: www.australiancarbontrust.com.au ). This has created a tremendous opportunity for MicroPlanet, SGP, and their partners to proceed with a coordinated program for larger scale adoption of MicroPlanet's energy efficiency and voltage optimization products in Australia. Similar programs in the United Kingdom have resulted in wide scale installation of Voltage Optimization products in that jurisdiction and MicroPlanet believes its first mover advantage and strong utility customer relationships in Australia position it to achieve similar results.

MicroPlanet and SGP will initiate a new venture to capitalize on financing available from The Australian Carbon Trust.  The Australian Carbon Trust has earmarked significant funds for co investments which stimulate private sector investment, and prioritizes projects which leverage additional private sector finance and are scalable, replicable, and adaptable. The new venture is expected to help fund the acquisition and installation of MicroPlanet products on a large and commercial scale. The JV will pursue this opportunity with utility and private sector investment partners and is expected to formalize and submit its application for support to the Australian Carbon Trust by June 13, 2011.

MicroPlanet and SGP have also entered into a Master Territory Alliance agreement to liase with the appropriate government and environmental agencies for support for this venture. In addition, SGP will be responsible for accelerating distribution of MicroPlanet's utility and commercial products throughout Australia and New Zealand.

SGP is a solutions integrator established to provide strategic advisory and venture capability in the rapidly emerging Smart Grid domain. SGP sees great opportunity in voltage optimization applications in the Australian and New Zealand markets based on its extensive work in smart grid related activities. SGP brings a wealth of experience in leading the development of strategies in asset management that enable the exploration of blended traditional and alternative energy solutions. SGP expects the current drive towards alternatives to traditional network solutions will create significant opportunities for the MicroPlanet suite of smart voltage optimization products, particularly managing voltage excursion associated with the connection of large numbers of distributed PV and other renewable energy sources.

This new JV and Territory Alliance will replace a previously-announced and now concluded distribution agreement with  Energy Choices, a discontinued arm of Ergon Energy. MicroPlanet and SGP both maintain excellent relationships with Ergon Energy and Microplanet continues to deliver on existing purchase orders from Ergon Energy for utility voltage regulation products.

"The new joint venture with SGP provides MicroPlanet with a significant and active distribution network," said Brett Ironside, President and CEO of MicroPlanet. "The SGP team has deep and effective contacts already established within the utility community in Australia and New Zealand, and these utilities are beginning to experience the multi-faceted benefits of voltage optimization in their power grids. We anticipate that SGP will be able to efficiently expand the market for both utility and commercial products in these thriving markets." Ironside continued, "I am particularly enthusiastic about the creation of the new and well supported capital structure intended to finance the installation of MicroPlanet products on a large scale. This type of stimulus has proven very successful in the United Kingdom, and we are aggressively seeking certification for commercial products to exploit these opportunities in Australia and New Zealand as well as the United Kingdom."

SGP Director Grahame Foulger added, "SGP sees significant potential for deployment of MicroPlanet products in both the grid and on customer installations to improve power quality, reduce demand, and energy consumption. The application of the products to enable wide scale connection of intermittent renewable sources to the grid is also very promising. When the carbon tax is introduced a significant proportion of the revenue raised is likely to be directed back into the community to assist with the reduction of energy consumption and mitigate the impact of electricity price rises. MicroPlanet's voltage optimisation products are well positioned to assist with these objectives"

Deployment of Products to New Utilities in Australia

MicroPlanet is also pleased to announce the deployment of over 100 of MicroPlanet's utility voltage optimization products by multiple new utility customers. As part of its new responsibilities, SGP is now working diligently with these utilities to expand and accelerate adoption of MicroPlanet's products on a wider scale. Utilities that have now purchased and are trialing MicroPlanet utility voltage regulation products include:

  • Country Energy - Country Energy operates Australia's largest energy supply network across 95 per cent of New South Wales.
  • CitiPower and Powercor Australia - CitiPower supplies electricity to more than 310,000 distribution customers in Melbourne's CBD and inner suburbs. Powercor Australia is Victoria's largest electricity distributor with approximately 700,000 distribution customers
  • ETSA Utilities - ETSA operates a distribution network that stretches across South Australia with 820,000 residential and business customers.
  • ENERGEX - ENERGEX is one of the Australia's largest and fastest-growing companies with more than 3800 staff, $8.8 Billion in assets, and supplies electricity to a population of around 2.9 million people in South East Queensland.

About MicroPlanet Technology Corp.

MicroPlanet Technology Corp. smart grid energy management solutions improve power quality and save energy by dynamically managing incoming voltage to a home or business through the use of patented, advanced power electronics. MicroPlanet's technology is highly reliable, fast, precise, and extremely efficient, enabling customers to save energy, improve power quality and to facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind. MicroPlanet is based in Seattle, WA and is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V) trading under the stock symbol: MP. www.microplanet.com.

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SOURCE MicroPlanet Technology Corp.