FAYETTEVILLE, NC and RALEIGH, NC — IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Consert today announced the completion of smart grid pilot project installations with nearly 100 commercial and residential participants partnering with the Fayetteville Public Works Commission (FPWC) in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The pilot has helped local businesses and residents actively participate in the monitoring and control of their energy usage with savings of up to 40 percent.
Utilizing software by IBM and Consert, participants can set their daily use profiles, check their energy consumption from an Internet connection, select a monthly target bill amount, and authorize FPWC to cycle their appliances off for brief periods during peak energy consumption events. Data is transmitted over the 3G Verizon Wireless network.
The pilot aimed to reduce "ghost" consumption on devices such as air conditioners and water heaters that draw energy when no one is home to use them. Consumers will be able to do these same activities from a PDA or mobile phone early next year.
The pilot comes at a time when growing opportunities around stimulus funding and energy security are generating widespread interest in smarter energy infrastructure.
In the six-month pilot spearheaded by FPWC, Consert outfitted each participant's residence or place of business with small controllers placed on high consumption devices. A gateway was integrated to the meter enabling two-way communications between the participant and the FPWC utilizing wireless network connectivity provided by Verizon Wireless.
By logging into a Web site from their laptops, participants can check on and adjust their energy consumption. The pilot also provides a wireless broadband Internet connection as an option for those participants with no connectivity or those who are using a dial-up service.
Consert provided the technology for the pilot with smart meter and software applications technology based on IBM software including DB2, WebSphere and Tivoli. The system is designed to provide customers with a real-time, two-way interactive communication and control system that allows for up to 256 devices and components to easily work with each other.
Real-time energy monitoring and modifications can help the typical consumer save, on average, 15 percent or more of their normal energy use with no change in comfort or lifestyle. In addition, the FPWC can calculate carbon savings at the device level, rather than at the point of generation.
"By demonstrating an effective smart grid consumer application, Fayetteville Public Works Commission is taking a significant step to further smart grid adoption. North Carolina is fortunate to have companies like Consert and IBM as part of a growing cluster of smart grid companies. I am optimistic about growth in this part of the green economy, creating benefits for consumers and utilities, as well as creating jobs, spurring innovation and attracting investments for the application of intelligent technology to how we deliver and use electricity," said John E. P. Morrison, North Carolina Commerce Assistant Secretary for Energy.
Since the inception of the FPWC pilot program, the Consert system has measured and verified a reduction in energy consumption of up to 40 percent in some participating households.
"The pilot creates an additional way for the Fayetteville Public Works Commission to effectively meet the requirements of North Carolina renewable and energy efficiency legislation, address future demands for costly generators and help consumers realize savings," said Jack Roberts, Consert, Inc. CEO and president.
In addition to the Fayetteville Public Works Commission pilot, Consert also has two active pilot programs in North Carolina with Wake Electric Membership Corporation and Project FREEDM with North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Roberts added that students in North Carolina universities are going to be well-positioned to take advantage of the smart grid jobs of the future due to these pilots, which are paving the way for the future of energy management as the nation moves to alternative, renewable energy sources.
IBM is boosting efforts with Business Partners such as Consert to give utilities and consumers an easy way to reduce energy consumption and save money by helping to build an upgraded electricity delivery system that uses digital technology to reduce costs and increase reliability while promoting energy independence.
"The only way we're going make energy grids greener is to add instrumentation and intelligence. Projects like these illustrate that with the right technology and partnerships, it can be done," said Chris O'Connor, Vice President Strategy & Market Management for IBM Tivoli Software. "Technology is at the core of the next generation of smart grids and IBM is making significant investments into research, skills development and partners to make smart grids a reality."
IBM is working with clients in nearly 50 Smart Grid engagements across emerging and mature markets. More about IBM's vision to bring a new level of intelligence to how the world works -- how every person, business, organization, government, natural system, and man-made system interacts, can be found here: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet
A demonstration of the Consert and IBM technology can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ylil_8TarA4.
For more information on Consert, visit: consert.com.
For more information on smart utilities at IBM visit: http://www.ibm.com/energy.
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