IBM and the Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) have announced an agreement to build an intelligent fiber optic and control network across the State of Vermont, US.

Spanning more than 1000 miles, the 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.”

The 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.

IBM’s Essex Junction, Vermont campus has been a model for advances in Smart Grid technologies for nearly a decade; the site’s Smart Grid has helped it effectively reduce electricity usage by 19 per cent during a period of increasing production capability.

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