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IBM has launched the Smarter Energy Research Institute, a new industrial research collaboration model aimed at accelerating innovation across the global energy and utilities market. Hydro-Quebec (Canada), Alliander (Netherlands) and DTE Energy (U.S.) have joined as the first members.

According to IBM, the Smarter Energy Research Institute is a new collaboration between corporate research and the energy and utilities industry to transform leading energy companies through the use of predictive analytics, system optimization and advanced computation to deliver better services to their customers.

Combining IBM Research's experience in the areas of mathematical sciences, computer science and high-performance computing with the deep-power engineering and operational know-how of the participating members, the institute will focus on five core innovation tracks to pursue joint research. Each company will identify and be active in up to two tracks that match its business and operational priorities. The areas include the following:

- Outage planning optimization: reducing the amount of time a customer is without power;

- Asset management optimization: improving the allocation of capital and operational. expenses in upgrades and maintenance;

- Integration of renewables and distributed energy resources: meeting renewable integration and distributed energy resource regulatory targets while ensuring system stability;

- Wide-area situational awareness: detecting anomalies across the grid in real time to improve resiliency, reliability and energy quality; and

- The Participatory Network: using an engagement model to transform relationships with consumers.

"Our mission is about bringing research and the energy industry closer together to work jointly on areas critical to the industry's transformation, and for members to become major beneficiaries in extracting value from the information and communication technology revolution. Working collaboratively across disciplines, institutions and geographies has been proven time and again at delivering superior innovation results," says Dario Gil, director of energy and natural resources for IBM Research.


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