Nexant helping industry conserve power

BOULDER ? The year 2000 brought more than just widespread panic about a potential Y2K bug for one Boulder company. The turn of the millennium brought change, as in a merger.

On Jan. 1, 2000, Schiller Associates, which worked in Boulder as consultants for the energy industry, merged with three other companies to form Nexant Inc. In four-plus years, the corporation has turned into an international energy consulting and products company with $55 million to $60 million in annual revenues.

Nexant has one of its 10 worldwide offices in Boulder, at 1401 Walnut St., Suite 400, Schiller?s former home.

?Before we became Nexant, we?d always kind of been a ?seat-of-the-pants,? grass-roots growth (company),? said Jim Bradford, Nexant vice president in charge of energy systems management.

He joined Schiller in 1998. ?It was extremely organic growth ? no capital requirements. And that?s very comforting because you build a really strong base that way. Now when Nexant came in, it did get a bunch of capital money.?

Since its formation, Nexant has received outside capital from seven investors: Bechtel Capital Partners LLC, the Beacon Group Inc., Morgan Stanley Inc., Hellman and Friedman LLC, Nth Power, MIC Capital LLC and IBM Inc.

This group, along with employees and management of Nexant, own the privately operated company that maintains its headquarters in San Francisco.

Today, Nexant employs 250 people, 15 of whom work in Boulder. Other offices are located nationally in Madison, Wis.; White Plains, N.Y.; Houston; Phoenix and Washington and internationally in London, Tokyo and Bangkok, Thailand.

Overall, the company specializes in energy software product design and consulting to help clients manage and conserve power.

?We don?t actually do oil or gas fieldwork,? said Bradford, who oversees Nexant?s 60 employees in the department of energy systems management, which accounts for nearly $10 million of the company?s revenues. ?But as soon as that gas leaves the ground and comes up the pipe, then we start to get involved. So we cover from when the energy starts to where it?s supplied all the way through to where it?s used.?

Power savers
Nexant works mostly on the demand side ?by helping people reduce their energy use, mostly in commercial and industrial settings,? Bradford said. The company also works to measure and verify performance of energy conservation projects.

Costs for Nexant?s services range anywhere from about $50 to $350 per hour, depending on the job and amount of specialization needed for the work. Roughly 80 percent of its clients are commercial or industrial ? with the remaining 20 percent residential ? and they range from the federal and state governments to utility companies to power authorities to end-users.

Customers in Colorado include Xcel Energy Inc., Platte River Power Authority and Colorado Springs Utilities.

?We have a grant program for state and local governments, where they use the grant to essentially design high-power buildings,? said Linda Smith, senior program manager for the Colorado Governor?s Office of Energy Management and Conservation, another Nexant customer. ?Nexant helps to facilitate and administer our grant program.

?They?ve also provided technical support to ensure that energy performance contracts incorporate quality, monitoring and verification protocols, a practice that?s used to finance major energy-saving projects and to use the future energy savings to pay for them.?

Nexant currently works with Xcel Energy as ?third-party administrators for some of the DSM (demand-side management) programs? in Colorado, said Xcel Energy spokesman Mark Stutz. The goal of the current DSM programs is to reduce electricity demand by $75 million and demand-side consumption in residential and commercial units by 124 megawatts.

One megawatt-hour serves about 1,000 customers for one hour, Stutz said.

Bradford estimates that for typical end-users, Nexant may be able to help reduce their energy use by up to 20 percent companywide.

?It?s very Boulderlike, very green,? Bradford said of what Nexant does. ?The work we do is good for the planet. The amount of greenhouse gases and the amount of electricity and other pollutants that we have saved is a lot.?

Summit Blue Consulting LLC, a Boulder-based consulting company that works mostly for the gas utility industry, often works with the same customers as Nexant. For example, both Summit Blue and Nexant have worked for Xcel Energy as well as on a project in New York worth about $5 million to $6 million in consulting revenues.

?Some of these projects are quite large and need different types of expertise,? said Dan Violette, principal and chief executive of Summit Blue. ?Some of the clients look for teams and for depth of experience. Sometimes two companies work better than one.

?There?s enough room for a couple of companies to get together and do well.?

Nexant and Summit Blue aren?t the only energy consulting companies in Boulder, either.

?What?s interesting about Boulder is that it has about 10 companies similar to Nexant, if not more,? Violette said. ?Boulder is definitely viewed as a leading city for this kind of research.?

Nexant Inc.
Boulder office: 1401 Walnut St., Suite 400 Boulder, CO 80302 (303) 402-2480
Fax: (303) 440-6644 www.nexant.com

BOULDER ? The year 2000 brought more than just widespread panic about a potential Y2K bug for one Boulder company. The turn of the millennium brought change, as in a merger.

On Jan. 1, 2000, Schiller Associates, which worked in Boulder as consultants for the energy industry, merged with three other companies to form Nexant Inc. In four-plus years, the corporation has turned into an international energy consulting and products company with $55 million to $60 million in annual revenues.

Nexant has one of its 10 worldwide offices in Boulder, at 1401 Walnut St., Suite 400, Schiller?s former home.

?Before we became Nexant, we?d always kind of been a ?seat-of-the-pants,? grass-roots growth (company),? said Jim Bradford, Nexant vice president in charge of energy systems management.

He joined Schiller in 1998. ?It was extremely organic growth ? no capital requirements. And that?s very comforting because you build a really strong base that way. Now when Nexant came in, it did get a bunch of capital money.?

Since its formation, Nexant has received outside capital from seven investors: Bechtel Capital Partners LLC, the Beacon Group Inc., Morgan Stanley Inc., Hellman and Friedman LLC, Nth Power, MIC Capital LLC and IBM Inc.

This group, along with employees and management of Nexant, own the privately operated company that maintains its headquarters in San Francisco.

Today, Nexant employs 250 people, 15 of whom work in Boulder. Other offices are located nationally in Madison, Wis.; White Plains, N.Y.; Houston; Phoenix and Washington and internationally in London, Tokyo and Bangkok, Thailand.

Overall, the…