Smarter Energy Research Institute established to advance the utility of the future


Dr. Dario Gil,
Director, Smarter
Energy Research
Yorktown Heights, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — October 26, 2012 – The Smarter Energy Research Institute has been launched by IBM as a new industrial research collaboration aimed at accelerating innovation across the global energy and utilities market.

The first members are Hydro-Quebec (Canada), Alliander (Netherlands) and DTE Energy (USA).

The Institute is aimed to transform leading energy companies through the use of predictive analytics, system optimization and advanced computation to deliver better services to their customers. Combining IBM Research’s expertise in the areas of mathematical sciences, computer science and high performance computing with the deep power engineering and operational know-how of the participating members, the Institute will focus on five core innovation tracks to pursue joint research with shared investments, knowledge and capabilities benefitting every member.

Each company will identify and be active in up to two tracks that match their business and operational priorities. The areas include:

  • Outage planning optimization
  • Asset management optimization
  • Integration of renewables and distributed energy resources (DER)
  • Wide-area situational awareness
  • The participatory network to transform relationships with consumers.

The three initial members bring extensive knowledge and expertise in operating and advancing smart grids.

Hydro-Quebec is one of the world’s largest hydroelectric power producers and the only North American electric utility to operate its own research center (IREQ).

Alliander is a major Dutch energy distributor and specialist in renewable energy, sustainability, technical innovations, and complex power systems in the Netherlands.

DTE Energy is an investor-owned diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services across the United States. Its largest operating subsidiaries are Detroit Edison and Michigan Consolidated Gas Co.

Expected outcomes of the research include equipping members with the ability to improve planning and reliability of operations through the use of prediction and optimization in the areas of outage and asset management.

In the area of renewable and distributed energy resources, members can leverage predictive and optimization technologies, increasing the accuracy of their forecasts to balance the supply and demand of electricity and take measures that ensure system reliability.

Using advanced computational techniques capable of analyzing streaming data from sensors across the grid in near real time will enable more dynamic monitoring of the entire power system across large geographic areas.

“Our mission is about bringing research and the energy industry closer together to work jointly on areas critical to the industry’s transformation, and for members to become major beneficiaries in extracting value from the information and communication technology revolution,” said Dr. Dario Gil, director of the Smarter Energy Research Institute and director of Energy and Natural Resources for IBM Research. “Working collaboratively across disciplines, institutions and geographies has been proven time and again at delivering superior innovation results.”

As part of their participation, each member obtains usage rights for all the innovations (e.g. algorithms, software, patents) created by every participant of the Institute.

The Smarter Energy Research Institute operates out of the global network of IBM Research labs, while simultaneously leveraging additional research and infrastructure operated by the members.