IBM Expands Global Intelligent Utility Network to Advance Smart Grid Development

IBM announced two new utilities have joined the Global IUN Coalition designed to further the adoption of smarter energy grids around the world — CPFL Energia from Brazil, and Liander from The Netherlands. The coalition now collectively serves approximately 100 million energy customers worldwide.

"The addition of these new members furthers the global scope of the coalition and accelerates how we can fundamentally change the way power is managed and distributed," said Guido Bartels, general manager of IBM’s Energy & Utilities Industry. "Each utility company brings specific expertise to the table that allows members to apply new competencies to their own networks."

Liander, the largest grid operator in the Netherlands, envisions a smart grid that facilitates sustainable energy generation and consumption. Among other initiatives, Liander is using technology to detect and reduce grid losses and supports energy conservation for consumers. CPFL Energia is the largest private company in the Brazilian electric sector, and is widely recognized for sustainability in its business practices.

The coalition member companies are diverse in their knowledge contributions. For example, DONG Energy of Denmark is a leader in renewable energy, sourcing 20 percent of their power from wind and working toward generating 50 percent of their energy with CO2-neutral resources by 2020. NDPL of India offers the perspective of providing power to an emerging market, where reliability and full access to electricity are still in development. San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), a Sempra utility, is the first utility in the continental United States to commit to generating 33 percent of electricity from renewable resources by 2020.

The GIUNC 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.

Of the U.S.-based coalition members (CenterPoint Energy, Pepco Holdings, Inc, Progress Energy and San Diego Gas & Electric), all four utilities were awarded part of the $3.4 billion of U.S. government funding announced last month dedicated to modernizing the power grid.

The GIUNC’s first collaborative effort was the creation of a Smart Grid Maturity Model, which has been used by more than 60 utilities from around the world to benchmark their current progress and plan long term smart grid programs. The model was recently donated to Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute for use by the industry. Other collaborations are focused on the smart grid’s impact on climate change, consumer perspectives, standards and interoperability and possible future regulatory models.


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