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IBM picks China for first intelligent energy and utility tech lab

IBM has tapped China for its first Energy and Utilities Solutions Lab, which essentially showcases technologies that could aid in the development of smart grid solutions and other intelligent energy applications.For perspective, ZPryme Research & Consulting pegs the anticipated amount of investment by the Chinese government in smart grid and related technologies at $7.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

IBM has tapped China for its first Energy and Utilities Solutions Lab, which essentially showcases technologies that could aid in the development of smart grid solutions and other intelligent energy applications.

For perspective, ZPryme Research & Consulting pegs the anticipated amount of investment by the Chinese government in smart grid and related technologies at $7.3 billion this year. Energy demand is growing by about 5.5 percent per year through 2010. Worldwide, the investment in information technology by utility companies is expected to post a compound annual growth rate of 15.2 percent between 2008 and 2013. (IT spending by utility companies was about $4.1 billion in 2008, according to IDC.)

Here's the sort of work with which the new IBM lab will be involved. (It already is running various pilots related to these initiatives.):

  • Development of distribution network solutions, such as the work that IBM is doing with the China Electric Power Research Institute of State Grid of China. The pilot includes WebSphere ILOG Business Rule Management System and ILOG Optimization Decision Manager. Basically, the technologies will be used as the foundation for demand response applications.
  • A Wide Area Grid Monitor and Alert solution. This will provide real-time monitoring of grid assets, with an aim of offering safe and stable operations.
  • Solutions for integrating renewable energy technologies and sources such as wind and solar into the overall grid.
  • Intelligent Plant Lifecycle Management for Nuclear Energy, which touches on all aspects of nuclear plant operations.

As you might imagine, aside from the technologies I already mentioned above that help with analysis, IBM's smart grid pilots rely heavily on its various Tivoli-branded IT services and asset management applications. It also is applying its enterprise content management technology to keeping all this data corralled in a manageable fashion.

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