Florida and Carolinas to get smart grid

Progress Energy is teaming up with IBM to further their smart grid utilities program in Florida and the Carolinas. The $500 million program will upgrade two of its electric utilities and add to existing capabilities for renewable energy and electric cars. Currently the utility systems in both states provide service to 3.1 million customers and the cost of the upgrade will be split between funds from the states, and a $200 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The federal grant is part of the Obama administration’s push for smart grid in the united states. Progress Energy will be deploying IBM’s WebSphere software platform which utilizes analytics to integrate distribution management and demand response systems. IBM has been working to increase its presence in smart grid by pushing its smart-grid analytics capabilities. The company has already run several smart-grid pilot projects including one in North Carolina in 2009.

Earlier this year, IBM launched a Intelligent Metering Network Management software platform which adds new abilities to smart meters by enabling smart meters from different vendors to talk to one another, and allowing different utilities to talk to one another. For the project with Progress Energy, the company will primarily focus on distribution.

“Progress Energy’s smart grid efforts focus on improving the electric distribution network first, then cascading these improvements to the consumer. We believe these efforts position the program as one of the more sophisticated deployments in the marketplace,” said Guido Bartels, General Manager, Energy & Utilities Industry at IBM and Chairman, Global Smart Grid Federation.

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