A Kirkland company working on a groundbreaking project with Mason County PUD No. 3 has been highlighted by digital media company GigaOM as one of five smart grid startups to watch in a national technology competition.

GridMobility is collaborating with PUD 3 and the Bonneville Power Administration on a pilot program to measure the ability to match renewable energy generation with customer energy use. The company’s Renewable Demand Response software is testing the time-shift of electricity use based on renewable electricity delivery. The company has been chosen along with 16 Pacific Northwest teams as regional finalists in the “Cleantech Open.” The competition, based out of California, is designed to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges.

PUD 3 is installing special devices on water heaters that will tell them to turn on or off, based on conditions of the regional electrical system and the amount of renewable energy available. Homeowners can override the device at any time. With modern insulated water heaters, it is unlikely they will notice a change in water temperature.

The hardware for the control devices has been developed by a local company, Allyn Technologies.

PUD 3 provides electricity to nearly 33,000 customers in most of Mason County and small portions of Kitsap, Grays Harbor and Pierce counties. The PUD also provides wholesale telecommunications services through a fiber optic network.