IBM Unveils Energy & Utilities Solutions Lab in China

March 09, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

IBM announced its Energy & Utilities Solutions Lab in Beijing, where IBM states it will bring together advanced analytics skills, industry-specific offerings and best practices to make energy and utility networks safer, more efficient and smarter.

The E&U Solutions Lab, IBM’s first worldwide, will focus on developing industry-specific solutions based on the needs of the E&U industry. Located in the IBM China Development Labs, the E&U Solutions Lab will consist of a dedicated team of developers, IT architects and subject matter experts, who will work with business partners and utilities, as well as with experts in IBM Research Labs and Development Labs in China and beyond.

IBM also announced a range of new and enhanced energy industry-specific solutions – initial results of the E&U Lab’s development efforts – that enable utility companies to improve energy delivery and optimize performance by offering network automation and efficiency.

The new E&U Solutions Lab is part of IBM’s strategy to address the burgeoning demand of smart grid initiatives in China. China’s energy demand is expected to grow at about 5.5% per year through the year 2020. Since the global financial crisis called for improvement in energy delivery, development of clean energy and international cooperation, China has allocated US$7.3 billion to energy system reform. Designed to improve energy efficiency and to expedite development of clean energy, this reform calls for the improvement of existing grid networks and the delivery of new and renewable energy such as wind and solar.

"As part of our growth strategy, we strive to become a key part of China’s energy and utilities ecosystem, working with the Chinese government, utility companies, solution providers and business partners," said Dr. Matt Wang, Vice President, China Development Labs for IBM. "Our strategic collaboration with China to develop utility solutions that meet the unique energy demands in China will benefit the industry not only here but also countries around the world."

Development of distribution network solutions is a key area for the E&U Solutions Lab. IBM has begun work with the China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI), a subsidiary of State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC) to develop an optimized distribution network planning platform to support decision-making for energy savings, loss reduction and network reliability improvement. The platform is currently being used by a power company under SGCC as a pilot scheme.

As part of SGCC’s smart power grid program, an intelligent IT platform is being implemented to conduct analysis of possible factors causing excessive energy consumption. The new platform, developed on IBM’s WebSphere ILOG® Business Rule Management System (BRMS) and ILOG® Optimization Decision Manager (ODM) and optimization methodology, will enable the SGCC to realize distribution network upgrades by optimizing loss reduction work, designing a strategy and proposing the most effective decisions to help reduce energy consumption and transmission loss.

SGCC, which supplies power to 25 provinces in China, embarked on a decade-long smart power grid program last year to increase operational flexibility and transmission efficiency, improve allocation of power resources and incorporate renewable power sources.