Siemens, NB Power, university launch Smart Grid Innovation Network

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The Smart Grid Innovation Network was officially launched in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada by founding partners Siemens Canada, New Brunswick Power and University of New Brunswick.

SGIN is a joint testing platform that aims to serve as a catalyst for innovation and the development of a next generation electricity eco-system in New Brunswick, Canada, while supporting opportunities for innovation that can be applied to the global energy marketplace.

Practically speaking, Smart Grid Innovation Network will allow businesses to design, develop and test smart grid related products and services, offering industry players access to an incredible eco-system that will help them over technology hurdles, and allow them to evolve their product or service to the next level of 'smart' so it can communicate with other products and the electrical grid.

SGIN can not only support them to contribute to a successful smart grid implementation in New Brunswick, but also to give them the opportunity to take their product or service to the world.

The SGIN is centered around three interconnected labs, each with a number of virtual and physical elements. Each lab will be led by one of the SGIN partners and will serve as on-ramps to business and organizations from New Brunswick and around the world, to innovate, design, test and take to market, products and services in the smart grid and sustainable electricity space.

The three labs are:

1.     Smart Grid Research Lab at the University of New Brunswick: To provide R&D in the early stage of the innovation cycle, providing a platform for developing new smart grid concepts, models and algorithms to feed into technology development; as well as to support testing in a simulated grid environment. This lab will also support advanced power systems research and education, coupled with hands-on real world experience.

2.     Interoperability Lab at Siemens: To conduct R&D and allow vendors to test the interoperability of various smart grid product and services components, by providing a configurable sandbox environment for innovation partners.

3.     Products and Services Lab at NB Power: To conduct R&D, utility grid interoperability testing, and support acceptance testing by validating product requirements and compliance readiness. Will also support training and provide a platform for outreach and demonstration activities.

Beyond the physical labs, SGIN is intended to offer a single point of contact for local and global companies for smart grid related development and testing, as well as provide R&D and demo support and build capacity for developing, sharing and supporting smart grid development. To assist this, SGIN will host workshops and conferences to engage and exchange knowledge among users and potential users of the network, facilitating this fast-paced and fluid innovation smart grid environment.

Governance for the SGIN will be structured formally with Lab Coordinators at each of the three physical lab sites managing staff and reporting into a recently appointed Innovation Officer who reports back to the Executive Oversight Committee and Steering committee presiding over the project.

For its part, Siemens plans to invest more than $1 million CAD in cash and in-kind over the next five years into the SGIN and its Interoperability Lab. NB Power expects to invest in the order of $2 million in cash and in-kind in its Product and Services Lab; and UNB has also committed upwards of $2 million in cash and in-kind, including NSERC project research funding, to the unique venture.

At a governmental level, SGIN is also supported with $2 million in federal funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, as well as $840,000 in provincial government investment by Opportunities New Brunswick.

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