Members of the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness traveled to North Carolina for a roundtable discussion with national and local energy and smart grid executives about the obstacles and opportunities associated with growing jobs in their industry. The roundtable discussion was one of five simultaneous sessions that coincided with President Obama’s visit to North Carolina.
A regional program established in North Carolina in 2009 designed to help universities increase energy efficiency and save money is expanding into a national effort with a mandate to curb greenhouse gas pollution in four states—Texas, Georgia, New York, and New Jersey—as well as Washington D.C. Climate Corps Public Sector, the forward thinking summer fellowship program developed by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), specially trains graduate students to seek out energy efficiency savings in local governments, higher education and other organizations.
Citing the need to streamline costs related to replacing old infrastructure with a smart grid, Duke Energy Corp. and Progress Energy have filed applications seeking regulatory approval for their proposed merger. If approved, Duke Energy reports the merger will create the United States’ largest electric utility, “as measured by enterprise value, market capitalization, generation assets, customers and numerous other criteria.” The combined company will have more than 7.1 million electric customers in six states—North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky—and the largest regulated nuclear fleet in the country.
ABB is investing $90 in a new high-voltage cable manufacturing plant in Huntersville, North Carolina. The facility will supply high-voltage and extra high-voltage smart-grid compliant transmission cables to carry electric power underground. The cables, for use in both AC and DC applications, will help strengthen America’s energy infrastructure and enable power from renewable resources, like wind and solar, to reach homes and businesses.
Power and automation technology group ABB is investing $10 million to expand its Raleigh, North Carolina, facility to include a technology center called the Smart Grid Center of Excellence (COE). ABB will temporarily locate the Smart Grid COE in its existing Centennial Campus facilities at North Carolina State University in Raleigh until it can build and lease out space on the Centennial Campus for a permanent facility. The site is already home to the North America headquarters of ABB’s Power Products and Power Systems divisions as well as one of eight global corporate research centers that is focused on advanced power system technology.
Smart grid technology provider Consert Inc. has received $17.7 million in funding from Constellation Energy, GE Energy Financial Services, Qualcomm Incorporated, Verizon Ventures and private investors to support strategic marketing, North American sales, and ongoing enhancements of Consert’s advanced smart grid software.
Energate has secured $7.2 million in Series B funding that will be used to increase sales growth and customer deployment initiatives and support Energate’s product development and strategic partnerships.
ABB has debuted GridSync wireless sensors which provides high accuracy current, voltage and frequency information in real time for Smart Grid applications, including Volt Var Control (VVC), Demand Response, and Load Monitoring. GridSynch’s technology combines sensors and wireless communications to enable utilities to increase grid visibility and efficiency through VoltVar Optimization (VVO).