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Electricity has always powered the work of computers. Now, with smarter grids, computing is returning the favor.

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Smart Grid feature stories

Analytics, asset management and other technologies are making wind farms smarter, adding momentum to this fast-growing industry.

The energy and auto industries are getting ready to take a road trip together toward e-mobility.

Get the latest thinking on strategies and solutions for securing the smart grid.

 


 

Smart Grid

Power in numbers: The twelve-member Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition advances
the smart grid worldwide

In 2007, IBM formed a coalition of innovative utility companies to accelerate the use of smart grid technologies and move the industry forward through its most challenging transformation. The Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition wants to change the way power is generated, distributed and used by adding digital intelligence to the current systems to reduce outages and faults, manage demand, and integrate renewable energy sources such as wind and power.

Today the Coalition comprises twelve members serving nearly 100 million energy customers worldwide. Each utility company brings a unique expertise to the table. For example, DONG Energy of Denmark is a leader in renewable energy, sourcing 20% of their power from wind and working toward generating 50% of their energy with CO2-neutral resources by 2020. And NDPL of India offers the perspective of providing power to an emerging market, where reliability and full access to electricity are still a challenge.

The Coalition shares ideas and best practices through in-person meetings and virtual interactions, benchmarks their efforts, shares knowledge on critical issues and undertakes collaborative initiatives. For example, the successful CenterPoint Energy Smart Grid Demonstration Center gave Country Energy the insight they needed to create their own center in Queenbeyan, Australia.

The Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition's first collaborative effort was the creation of a Smart Grid Maturity model, which has been used by over 60 utilities from around the world to assess where they are and plan their own smart grid program. It was recently donated to Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute for use by the industry. Other collaborations are focused on the impact of the smart grid on climate change, consumer perspectives, standards and interoperability and possible future regulatory models.

As part of the IUN Coalition, we collaborate and share experiences with the best worldwide to achieve our goals: optimizing the usage of wind energy, improving energy efficiency and reliability, and making smart grid investments while ensuring low cost. - Jens Jakobsson, Vice President Power Distribution, DONG Energy in Denmark

Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition. 1. Alliander - The Netherlands, 2. Centerpoint Energy, Inc - U.S.,  3. CPFL Energia - Brazil, 4. DONG Energy - Denmark, 5. E.ON AG-Germany, 6. ERDF - France, 7. Essential Energy - Australia, 8. IBM - U.S., 9. KEPCO of Korea - South Korea, 9. KEPCO of Korea - South Korea, 10. Oncor - u.s., 11. Pepco Holdings - U.S., 12. Progress Energy - U.S., 13. Sempra Energy - U.S., 14- Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd,   15. TEPCO of Tokyo - Japan

 

Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition members

Alliander (Arnhem, Netherlands)
Alliander, the largest network company in the Netherlands, is paving the way for increased adoption and usage of electric vehicles by working with other companies in their ecosystem to provide 10,000 charging points throughout the country by 2012.

CenterPoint Energy (Houston, TX)
CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric is a transmission and distribution company serving approximately 2.2 million consumers in the Houston area, the fourth largest city in the U.S, and operates in an electric deregulated market. The CenterPoint Energy demonstration center was one of the first in the world to show the smart meter and outage restoration benefits that can be realized through smart grid technologies.

Country Energy (Queenbeyan, Australia)
Australia's largest power supply network, they manage supply across 95 percent of New South Wales' land mass. Country Energy's innovative Intelligent Network (IN) Demonstration Center showcases the benefits of a smart grid through real examples such as energy storage and vehicle to grid.

CPFL (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
CPFL is the largest private company in the Brazilian electric sector and the first company to negotiate carbon credits.

DONG Energy (Copenhagen, Denmark)
DONG Energy is one of the leading energy companies in the Nordics, with activities in the whole energy value chain. They are breaking ground with work on projects to time vehicle charging with the intermittent wind.

ERDF (Paris, France)
ERDF, the distribution arm of EDF and the largest electricity distribution network in the European Union, is working to capitalize on advanced meter management capabilities to improve network operations, control, maintenance and development.

IBM (New York, NY)
IBM is helping clients around the world to deliver on the vision of a smart grid through its comprehensive approach of end-to-end solutions, informed policy and regulatory initiatives, and broadening awareness of critical areas such as standards. IBM's solutions address the entire energy value chain, water, and gas, and are an important part of the smarter planet initiative.

NDPL (Delhi, India)
NDPL, a joint venture between Tata Power and the Delhi government, created innovative initiatives that significantly reduced energy loss and pioneered substation automation in India. NDPL is also taking a leadership role in policy advocacy for smart grid initiatives in India.

Oncor Electric Delivery (Dallas, Texas)
Oncor is a regulated electric distribution and transmission business that uses superior asset management skills to provide reliable electricity delivery to consumers. Oncor operates the largest distribution and transmission system in Texas, delivering power to approximately 3 million homes and businesses and operating approximately 117,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines in Texas.

PHI (Washington, D.C.)
PHI is one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. with consumers in three states and the District of Columbia. PHI is helping energy customers understand how smart grid technologies and energy efficiency programs will benefit them through their innovative "Day in the Life Of" video segments on their Web site.

Progress Energy (Raleigh, NC)
Progress Energy is a fully integrated utility serving Florida and the Carolinas from generation to the consumer. Recently celebrating a century of service in 2008, they are working to improve the efficiency of power flow throughout their system through their work in voltage control and fault location.

Sempra Energy (San Diego, CA)
Sempra Energy is driving the progressive State of California metering initiative through its extensive smart meter deployment currently underway. All residential and business customers will have their meters replaced with a smart meter by the end of 2011. In addition, their work on microgrids, condition-based maintenance of substations and a state-of-the-art OMS/DMS system are advancing smart grid on multiple fronts.


 

The 18-24 age group leads in its willingness to pay for specific services. Smart Meter and Energy Self-Management Tool. 18-24: 68%, Average (all age groups): 45%, 65+: 56%. Third-party Energy Management Services. 18-24: 75%, Average (all age groups): 65%, 65+: 57%. Remote Mobile Notification of Outagesi. 18-24: 54%, Average (all age groups): 42%, 65+: 37%.

For decades, power was something the average person did not think much about.

Until it went out. And then it was all you thought about... until it came back. Not any more.

Climate change, rising energy prices and technology advances are all forces that have been reshaping the collective mindset of consumers, turning many from "passive ratepayers" to highly informed, environmentally conscious customers who want a role in using power. And now, with the emergence of the technologies that make smart grids possible, companies can provide their customers with the information and control they need to actually change their behavior patterns and reduce usage and costs.

Entering the digital age

IBM is helping utilities add a layer of digital intelligence to their grids. These smart grids use sensors, meters, digital controls and analytic tools to automate, monitor and control the two-way flow of energy across operations—from power plant to plug. A power company can optimize grid performance, prevent outages, restore outages faster and allow consumers to manage energy usage right down to the individual networked appliance.

"Smart" grids can also incorporate new sustainable energies such as wind and solar generation, and interact locally with distributed power sources, or plug-in electric vehicles.


 

Watch the Smart Grid

Powering the planet video

The electric grid was conceived in the age of Edison, designed in the age of Eisenhower and installed in the age of Nixon. It hasn't been upgraded since.


 

Chart: How much electricity do your appliances use? Electric blanket $11-125kW, Home computer $13-155kW, Television $19-190kW, Microwave oven $21-220kW, Dehumidifier $38-485kW, Well pump $46-590kW, Aquarium / terrarium $50-640kW, Dishwashers $55-660kW, Electric cooking $63-750kW, Freezer $69-820kW, Waterbed heater $74-900kW, Clothes dryer $75-915kW, Washing machine $83-1000kW, Refrigerator $95-1200kW, Pool pump $120-1450kW, Spa (pump and heater) $179-2150kW. U.S. Department of Energy.

 

Smart Grid Podcast. Take 12 minutes: Understand the next 5 years. With little or no intelligence to monitor power flows, enough electricity is lost annually to power India, China and Canada for a year.

Smart Grid podcast. Take 12 minutes: understand the next 5 years. With little or no intelligence to balance loads or monitor power flows, enough electricity is lost annually to power India, Germany and Canada for an entire year.