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IBM Spins Out Analytics Platform For Utilities

An IBM-backed energy startup will attempt to advance the smart grid via a new cloud-based analytics platform designed to forecast renewable energy supplies along with the overall health of a statewide and regional power grids.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and electric power transmission specialist Vermont Electric Power Co. (Velco) said last week the energy startup called Utopus Insights Inc. would incorporate researchers and intellectual property from IBM’s smart energy team. IBM Fellow Chandu Visweswariah will serve as president and CEO of the energy analytics startup, which is scheduled to begin operations around March 1.

Despite the Vermont focus, the smart energy spin-out from IBM Research will be based in Valhalla, NY. Headquartered in Rutland, Vt., Velco, is owned by several state electric distribution companies. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Electrical grids have become increasingly complex on both the power generation and demand sides, forcing operators to identify new tools for managing fluctuating renewable energy sources, growing energy demand and far-flung assets.

Another factor fueling the energy management startup is the rise of extreme weather. “Increasing extreme weather events coupled with explosive growth in weather-dependent renewable energy sources led Velco to look for new analytical tools to ensure grid reliability,” company CEO Tom Dunn noted in a statement. Velco worked with IBM Research to develop grid management software that will serve as the basis of the Utopus platform.

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