Last month U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the “American Recovery and Reinvestment” which included ‘nearly $100 billion in clean energy projects.” The press materials said that “more than $11 billion is included in the recovery to create a bigger, better, smarter electric grid” and will “deploy 40 million ‘Smart Meters’ in American homes, upgrading transmission and distribution technologies that have not significantly changed in a half century.”

 

The timing was impeccable as in late February Alstom announced it will work with Microsoft to launch high performance solutions for the power industry. The press release notes Alstom/Microsoft collaboration in the areas of:

 

  • Research and development in IT and power generation control platforms, both for conventional and renewable energy 
  • Marketing of both companies’ products, including joint sales activities and communications programmes
  • Joint business initiatives to accelerate the integration of third-party software applications.

 

Clearly, our partner Alstom is leading the way in innovative solutions for effecting technologies that create the smart energy ecosystem of the future.

 

But we are engaged in a number of Smart Grid initiatives, as discussed on these blog pages.

 

 For instance, our work with Itron in the area of meter data management, announced earlier in the year is another way that we are offering Microsoft solutions to the utility industry.

 

In all our work with partners and utilities, we respect the fact that the Smart Grid is an evolving concept. Right now, some in the industry are engaging in debates to define the Smart Grid to fit their products and services. Indeed, there have been mind-numbing debates over the true definition of how a Smart Grid will be implemented.  We aren’t going there.

 

Because of the evolving views about what the Smart Grid is, Microsoft’s Worldwide Power & Utilities Group recommends viewing the creation of the Smart Grid as a journey, a process, or a vision and eschews hard definitions about what the Smart Grid is or should be -- because it may change as technology and implementation approaches evolve.

 

Definitions of the Smart Grid/Smart Energy Ecosystem will continue to evolve as new equipment and new business models emerge. Microsoft will work with its partners in a flexible, agile manner to serve the utility industry in this time of transformation. Utilities will need to find partners whose technologies can evolve with the Smart Grid and Smart Energy Ecosystem. Microsoft and its partners can provide that core requirement. – Larry Kuhl, WW Utilities BD & Alliance Manager