IBM Joins EU Effort To Support Renewables, Smart Grid

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IBM says it has joined a consortium to help develop an energy grid that uses at least 50% renewable energy sources, such as wind power and solar energy. Led by a European Union-funded consortium, the EcoGrid EU project will demonstrate a smart grid that will allow smart devices to use renewable electricity based on near real-time pricing and availability.

The EcoGrid EU project will be piloted on the Danish island of Bornholm with 2,000 residents and commercial users, representing approximately every 10th house on the island. Using smart meters and a Web-based app that runs on smartphones, tablets and PCs, consumers can schedule when to purchase electricity and at what price.

Project scientists believe that by making this data easily available, Danes will choose to purchase renewable energy over fossil fuels, which will result in cost savings, IBM explains. The portal will also enable utilities to manage pricing based on supply, demand and available storage capacity. Selected participants will begin the testing phase toward the end of next year.

With 16 partners from 10 different countries, the demonstration will continue for the next 48 months, with goals to increase consumer interest in smart grids and develop new technologies that will improve energy forecasting and cost balancing, as well as reduce the congestion and losses across the distribution grid.

EcoGrid EU is an effort supporting the European Commission's 20/20/20 plan, which is to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 20%, increase renewable energy usage by 20% and reduce energy consumption through improved efficiencies by 20% by 2020.

‘By taking into account real-time conditions, we can increase the use of renewable energy, balance grid load, reduce failures, and accommodate consumer preferences and their desire to reduce energy consumption,’ says Guido Bartels, general manager of energy and utilities industry at IBM and chairman of the Global Smart Grid Federation. ‘The EcoGrid EU project, combined with lessons learned from EDISON, demonstrates our steady movement towards a sophisticated smart grid that will be capable of managing the future requirements for energy.’

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