DistribuTECH news: Vermont energy grid to get IBM network upgrade

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San Antonio, Texas, January 26, 2012 — At the 2012 DistribuTECH conference, IBM and the Vermont Electric Power Co. announced an agreement to build an intelligent fiber optic and Carrier Ethernet communications and control network across the state of Vermont. Spanning more than 1,000 miles, this advanced fiber communications network will connect transmission substations to Vermont's distribution utilities, delivering reliable electric service and the capabilities required for the state's future smart grid.

"As the transmission provider for the state of Vermont, VELCO is committed to improving power grid reliability and security," said Chris Dutton, President and CEO of VELCO. "Our collaboration with IBM to construct a network that both strengthens system reliability and enables Vermont utilities to execute our collaborative statewide smart grid initiative provides an innovative model for the rest of the country to build a 21st century smart grid."

IBM will provide project management and networking services, part of its Intelligent Utility Network solution, to help VELCO improve the state's electric infrastructure. This new system provides the communications capability to relay information back to the utility about usage, voltage, existing or potential outages, and equipment performance. Fiber transport and Carrier Ethernet systems will ensure reliability and security of the transmission network and allow utilities to improve power quality and avoid power outages or resolve them faster.

The communications network is based on Ciena's 6500 Packet-Optical Transport platform and its extensive family of Carrier Ethernet Service Aggregation and Delivery switches. With its peer-to-peer architecture, the new network will meet the demanding reliability and security requirements necessary for smart grid, as well as provide additional bandwidth to support the eEnergy Vermont initiatives in progress throughout the state. 

"This exciting partnership between our statewide transmission company VELCO, and IBM, a global smart grid leader whose Vermont campus is a model in energy efficiency, is an excellent example of how our state innovates," said Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. "This network will increase grid reliability, enable smart grid communications and help build the economic development platform necessary to create sustainable jobs. It's another concrete step toward our long-term goal to make Vermont a national model for energy policy — a source of best practices and technical assistance as the smart grid rolls out nationwide."

"IBM is very pleased to collaborate with VELCO and expand its involvement with the state of Vermont to ensure reliable power delivery to its citizens," said Guido Bartels, General Manager of IBM's Global Energy and Utilities Industry. "This new high speed network will allow VELCO to enhance and adapt its services as customer and requirements change. This goal is consistent with our Smarter Planet initiative to help utilities around the world transform their systems to improve customer service delivery. We see Vermont utilities and their customers as ideal partners to build the power grid of the future due to the strong commitment by all the stakeholders in the state on a common vision." 

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