Progress Energy’s two utilities in the Carolinas and Florida are investing about $520 million dollars in smart grid technologies, including IBM’s Tivoli and Rational software, and IBM expertise in smart grid systems integraton.
The investment includes $200 million in stimulus funds awarded by the Department of Energy.
The utility’s upgrades are aimed at increasing the flexibility and resilience of the electric system, enhancing capacity for renewable power, energy storage and plug-in electric vehicles, and giving customers better control over their energy use and energy spend.
“Progress Energy’s smart grid efforts focus on improving the electric distribution network first, then cascading these improvements to the consumer,” said Guido Bartels, general manager for the energy and utilities industry at IBM, and chairman of the Global Smart Grid Federation. “We believe these efforts position the program as one of the more sophisticated deployments in the marketplace.”
The Tivoli and Rational software integrate new distribution management, advanced metering, meter data management, and demand response systems with existing customer applications and outage management systems.
IBM’s work for Progress will also provide expertise in smart grid technologies and systems integration along with an understanding of large-scale smart grid systems planning and implementations, system architecture, business process design and development and business analytics.
Progress Energy manages more than 22,000 MW of generation capacity, serves about 3.1 million customers and has about $10 billion in annual revenues. The company is proposing a merger with Duke Energy that, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, would create the biggest utility in the country. The combined company would cover 7 million customers in six states.
IBM said it is involved in more than 150 smart grid projects in a number of countries.It was recently cited as a stand-out company in the field of sustainable technology services, including smart grids applications.
The IT giant also announced today that two new utilities have joined the Global Intelligent Utility Network (IUN) Coalition, a trade group designed to further the adoption of smart grids around the world. With the addition of Japan’s Tepco and Korea’s Kepco, coalition members now serve about 150 million customers, IBM said.
The coalition’s activities have included the production of a tool to benchmark utilities’ progress in instituting smart grids. More than 70 utilities have used the tool so far. Current activities include studying grid impacts of electric vehicles and researching customer needs related to smart grids.