New technology from ABB helps cities keep the power “on” despite severe weather

Source: ABB

ABB’s (NYSE:ABB) new Smart Grid Center of Excellence is the nation’s first-of-its-kind demonstration center and testing lab using cutting-edge Smart Grid software and equipment aimed at improving reliability in the midst of extreme weather.

ABB unveiled the new Center, launched with an initial $10 million investment from the company, at a dedication event with local dignitaries at ABB’s Power headquarters at N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus. The event coincides with “Severe Weather Awareness Week” in North Carolina.

Nancy McFarlane, Mayor of Raleigh, and other local officials toured the Center to learn how cities can be prepared to deal with weather emergencies.

ABB is an international leader in power technology innovation and, with its North American corporate headquarters in Cary, has been a driving force in positioning the Triangle as a major Smart Grid cluster. Thanks to a collaborative effort with ABB, the Raleigh Economic Development Council, the Raleigh Chamber and other local companies, Raleigh is quickly gaining a national reputation as the new “Smart Grid Hub of America.” A recent Duke University study validated this claim, reporting there are currently more than 70 local companies in the Triangle that are involved with the Smart Grid.

North Carolina is quickly gaining a national reputation, in the power industry and in general, of becoming a major energy state. Between Charlotte’s efforts to re-brand itself as a major national “Energy Hub” and Raleigh’s emergence as a national Smart Grid cluster, North Carolina continues to attract new power companies, and new jobs, to the state.

Severe Weather Simulation 

The ABB Smart Grid Center of Excellence shows how new grid technology identifies, isolates and restores trouble fault areas during a storm. It takes an integrated approach to illustrate for electric utilities, co-ops, municipalities and other electricity providers how the latest Smart Grid technology plays a vital role in severe weather management for entire cities. The Center simulates weather conditions, such as a harsh thunder and lightning storm, with visual and sound effects. The Center resembles a mock city with utility poles and a model home, but with real Smart Grid solutions installed, operating seamlessly together to provide stability and keep the lights on for everyone.

“As the demand for power continues to grow, and as the power grids of today become more complex, they must get smarter to improve reliability and energy efficiency,” said Enrique Santacana, president and CEO of ABB Inc. and region manager for North America. “ABB has always been on the leading edge of power technology, and this initiative reaffirms ABB’s commitment to serving our customers and our communities by playing an even larger role in the development of the emerging Smart Grid.”

The new facility also allows utilities to visualize, plan and implement proven, integrated hardware and software solutions that improve reliability before going live on the grid, while educating homeowners and business owners on how Smart Grid technology can improve their lives.

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