Fiber-based smart grid target of IBM, VELCO collaboration

IBM (NYSE:IBM) and the Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) have announced they will build a fiber-optic network based on Carrier Ethernet that will lay the foundation for a state-wide smart grid. The communications and control network will span more than 1000 miles and connect transmission substations to Vermont’s distribution utilities.

Jan 26th, 2012

IBM (NYSE:IBM) and the Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) have announced they will build a fiber-optic network based on Carrier Ethernet that will lay the foundation for a state-wide smart grid. The communications and control network will span more than 1000 miles and connect transmission substations to Vermont’s distribution utilities.

IBM will provide project management and networking services from its Intelligent Utility Network portfolio. Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ:CIEN) will supply its 6500 packet-optical transport system and elements of its family of Carrier Ethernet service aggregation and delivery switches.

The new network will relay information to the utility about usage, voltage, existing or potential outages, and equipment performance. The use of fiber optics and Carrier Ethernet systems will ensure communications reliability and security as well as enable VELCO to improve power quality and avoid power outages or resolve them more quickly, the partners say.

"As the transmission provider for the State of Vermont, VELCO is committed to improving power grid reliability and security," said Chris Dutton, president and CEO of VELCO. “Our collaboration with IBM to construct a network that both strengthens system reliability and enables Vermont utilities to execute our collaborative statewide smart grid initiative provides an innovative model for the rest of the country to build a 21st century smart grid."

“This exciting partnership between our statewide transmission company VELCO, and IBM, a global smart grid leader whose Vermont campus is a model in energy efficiency, is an excellent example of how our state innovates,” said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. “This network will increase grid reliability, enable smart grid communications and help build the economic development platform necessary to create sustainable jobs. It’s another concrete step toward our long-term goal to make Vermont a national model for energy policy – a source of best practices and technical assistance as the smart grid rolls out nationwide.”

Added Guido Bartels, general manager of IBM's Global Energy and Utilities Industry segment, “This new high-speed network will allow VELCO to enhance and adapt its services as customer and requirements change. This goal is consistent with our Smarter Planet initiative to help utilities around the world transform their systems to improve customer service delivery. We see Vermont utilities and their customers as ideal partners to build the power grid of the future due to the strong commitment by all the stakeholders in the state on a common vision.”

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