Around the Industry

July 9, 2010
Graybar Canada acquires Ontario automation specialist Graybar Canada, a subsidiary of Graybar, St. Louis, has acquired the assets of AVAD Industrial Sales

Graybar Canada acquires Ontario automation specialist

Graybar Canada, a subsidiary of Graybar, St. Louis, has acquired the assets of AVAD Industrial Sales Inc., Sudbury, Ontario. AVAD specializes in solutions for the industrial automation, control, power distribution and energy monitoring market. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“The technical expertise of our Industrial Automation group is phenomenal and they are actively serving our current market,” said Frank Hughes, CEO of Graybar Canada. “We look forward to tapping into additional market potential in Ontario with the acquisition of AVAD Industrial Sales.”

The acquisition is part of a push by Graybar Canada to focus on growing its role in the industrial market in 2010, the company said.

WESCO buys Alaskan distributor

WESCO International, Inc., Pittsburgh, has acquired the business of Potelcom Supply, Inc. headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska. Potelcom is a single-branch distributor with annual sales of approximately $25 million that primarily operates in Alaska's utility, industrial and government markets.

“This acquisition strengthens and expands our utility, industrial and government market positions in Alaska, as well as broadens our supplier lines,” said Stephen Van Oss, WESCO's senior V.P. and COO. “Combining Potelcom's cabling expertise with WESCO's industrial MRO and construction expertise and data communication product offerings provides a complete solution for our customers in Alaska. The Potelcom organization is well regarded in the Alaskan marketplace and we are pleased to welcome them as part of WESCO.”

Schneider to develop parking lot EV charging systems with Parkeon

Schneider Electric, Paris, announced an agreement with parking-management system provider Parkeon to develop an electric vehicle charging system that integrates energy management and pay-by-space technology. This agreement will allow the partners to create a commercial and technical offer for electric vehicle pilot programs and related charging infrastructure in Europe and North America, starting in this year.

Combining parking management and charging for electrical vehicles is a natural fit. The companies' solutions will be aimed initially at on-street and off-street parking and other similar applications. Schneider Electric will contribute its expertise in energy management and Parkeon, its skills as a leader in urban mobility, transit, parking and payment solutions, the companies said in a Schneider release.

“Through this partnership, Schneider Electric reaffirms its ambition to offer simple, efficient and accessible charging solutions for future electric vehicle users,” said Frédéric Abbal, president of Schneider Electric France. “This collaboration between Schneider Electric and Parkeon, both major players of their sectors, is the best way to rapidly develop the electrical vehicle market.”

Siemens buys into offshore wind

Siemens announced that it will pay approximately DKK 860 million (∼$145 million) for a 49-percent stake in A2SEA A/S, Fredericia, Denmark, a firm that specializes in the construction of offshore wind farms. The Danish energy company DONG Energy will continue to be the company's main shareholder.

“Together with Siemens, A2SEA can build optimized vessels for the installation of offshore wind turbines,” said Wolfgang Dehen, CEO of the Siemens Energy Sector. “The optimization of ships and processes will result in higher efficiency, shorter installation times and enhanced customer value.”

Siemens has major supply contracts with DONG Energy for offshore wind turbines. Last month the companies signed an agreement for the 400MW Anholt Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Denmark.

GE to install 4MW wind turbines offshore in Scandinavian waters

An AP report says GE plans to install up to five offshore demonstration wind turbines through partnerships in Norway and Sweden. The AP article says GE has signed deals with Norwegian energy companies Statoil and Lyse to together carry out technical and environmental feasibility studies for building an offshore wind demonstration project off the southwest coast of Norway. The installation of the wind turbines could start in 2012, based on results of the studies. General Electric earlier this year announced a $450 million expansion of its European offshore wind turbine business.

Grainger expands in South America

W.W. Grainger Inc., Lake Forest, Ill., is expanding operations in Colombia through a joint venture with an affiliate of Torhefe S.A., THF International SAS. Grainger owns an 80 percent majority position in the joint venture, with THF International SAS maintaining 20 percent. Torhefe, with 2009 sales of $23 million, is a leading distributor of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies in Colombia, with an emphasis on fasteners. The company has five locations in Colombia, including Barranquilla, Bogota, Cali, Cartagena and Medellin. The joint venture plans to operate under the Torhefe brand name in its existing locations, transitioning to the Grainger name over the next year.

SunPower smashes record for PV cell efficiency

SunPower Corp. San Jose, Calif., has produced a full-scale solar cell with a sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency of 24.2 percent at its manufacturing plant in the Philippines. The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) confirmed that this is a record for large-area silicon wafers.

TVA suspends renewables program due to “overwhelming demand”

The Tennessee Valley Authority has suspended new enrollments in its “Generation Partners” program for renewable power installations. Citing “overwhelming demand,” the utility said it will stop adding new members to the program, which provides a market for residential, commercial and industrial installations of renewable energy systems, including photovoltaic and wind as well as cash incentives for the installations.

“This will allow TVA and the local distributors to make some short-term changes that will ensure the program's availability to as many interested residents and businesses as possible,” said TWA's web-site page announcing the change.