IBM expands partnerships for Smart Grid; Software, sensors & storage can transform utility sector

December 01 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2012   Rating: 1

There are two major convergences to watch in the world of electricity.  The first relates to the convergence of the auto industry and 'big grid' utility providers to service next generation electric vehicles powered by batteries and H2 fuel cells.  The second deals with the convergence of software and energy flows.  We expect major enterprise software providers to jump into 'smart grid' efforts in the years ahead. And IBM is leading the charge!

IBM's Smart PlanetIBM Smart Grid
In early November IBM's CEO Sam Palmisano delivered a speech on Big Blue's vision of a Smart Planet based on intelligent infrastructure for flows of energy, transportation and information.  Now the company is now starting to go public with its formal strategic partnerships.

IBM has announced a pilot project with Michigan-based utility Consumers Energy, 'to help plan, deploy and test an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and smart grid field pilot network.'

But the most singificant project to date is with utility giant American Electric Power (AEP).  IBM will serve as the overall systems integrator for AEP's gridSMART(SM) suite of customer programs and systems that create change the nature of energy delivery systems.

IBM will help to expand gridSMART initiatives for new production, delivering and local storage systems that make utility grids more reslient and profitable. 

Smart Grid: Software, Sensors & Storage
After years of conceptual planning, 'Smart Grids' appear to be closer to reality.  The ingrediants for disruption will be software and sensors to anticipate grid strains, and local storage to lower the cost of meeting peak demand.

More from IBM's Press Release:

"IBM's commitment to the development of a smarter electricity grid aligns with the activities we already have underway," said Michael G. Morris, AEP's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Combining our own expertise on utility operations with IBM's expertise and experience in systems integration will bring the implementation of systems that best meet our customers' needs."

Initially, the gridSMART initiative will focus on four projects:

1) A pilot of advanced metering, distribution grid management, and energy efficiency technologies in South Bend, Ind., that as already begun.

2) Establishment of up to three model city demonstrations of approximately 100,000 customers each, where AEP can validate and refine its gridSMART vision.

3) Completion of a five-year Application Portfolio Roadmap that will outline how technology will transform AEP's future electricity distribution business.

4) Mobilization of several innovative customer service and energy conservation initiatives, including new online energy management tools.

IBM Consumer Energy Press release

IBM AEP Press Release (Sourced material)

AEP SmartGrid program

Image Credit technicolorcavalry Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0


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