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TMCNet:  IBM Joins Forces with ESB to Develop an Electric Vehicle Smart Charging IT System in Ireland

[October 04, 2012]

IBM Joins Forces with ESB to Develop an Electric Vehicle Smart Charging IT System in Ireland

Oct 04, 2012 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- IBM announced that it has teamed with ESB to implement a fully integrated smarter charging IT system that will help manage electric vehicle public charge-points, which are being rolled out across Ireland by ESB Networks.

Together the companies said they will add a layer of intelligence and convenience to the recharging process, allowing EV drivers to access, charge and pay, using an identification card. Additionally, the project will provide utilities with access to energy usage data that can help improve smart grid operations, reduce power strain during peak charging times, and ensure reliable energy distribution to customers.

With approximately 1,000 public charging-points currently available, ESB Networks is on track to deliver one of the largest integrated and operational electric vehicle infrastructures in Europe. ESB Networks will use IBM's Intelligent Electric Vehicle Enablement Platform to provide the services needed to operate and manage the charge-points installed throughout Ireland.

According to a release, the project is bolstered by Ireland's energy policy to increase sustainable energy use in the transportation sector by 2020. Today, the goal is to produce 40 percent of the country's current electricity consumption from renewable energy and have electric vehicles represent every tenth car on Irish roads. Already on the renewable fast track, this integrated EV charging network will allow Ireland to also contribute to the European Union legislation to reduce greenhouse gas pollution levels by approximately nine million tones before 2020.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: "Green energy and cloud computing are key sectors being targeted by the Government as part of our Action Plan for Jobs. This innovative partnership between an Irish energy company and a global IT leader puts Ireland at the forefront of global developments in the electric vehicle sector by using cutting edge cloud technologies, and represents a clear demonstration of what is possible in this area. Ireland will now be the first country globally to put in place this system on a national basis, and I am determined to ensure that through continued implementation of our plan we will see further examples of leadership in these areas." The platform will connect ESB Networks with the energy retailers and the charge-points, allowing all three to communicate energy usage and financial data directly. This will provide the analytics and intelligence needed to better forecast and balance the load on the power grid as well as help ESB Networks to monitor the health and status of the charge-points to ensure service reliability.

Additionally, the project will create a scalable payment transaction platform for utilities and consumers by combining financial, settlement, and management services. As the IBM Intelligent EV Enablement Platform is a cloud delivered service, it provides operators such as ESB Networks the flexibility and scalability to add charge-points, incorporate new functionality, and support more electric vehicles as the market grows.

ESB Networks will have the capabilities to securely maintain customer and charge point data such as energy consumption, charging location, and settlement data. This information can then be used to calculate and reconcile the energy market. With this level of financial insight, industry participants can manage regular and interruptible tariffs and calculate the appropriate billing costs.

ESB Chief Executive, Pat O'Doherty said, "ESB Networks is rolling out a smart recharging network nationwide and committed to offering a service that will benefit the consumer, electricity retailer as well as the electricity grid. This project has the potential to significantly improve efficiencies in EV charging, streamline management services and contribute to the overall reduction of CO2 emissions," he said.

The companies said the new system accommodates the needs of all EV owners. The IBM EV platform will enable EV drivers to select convenient payment options and access all charge-points using one ID card a process that will aggregate usage costs and simplify billing. This smart charging capability allows consumers to charge anywhere at anytime, regardless of their electricity provider and without the need to carry multiple access cards. Additionally, drivers will also have the option to use a mobile device or browser to locate the nearest charge post, check its availability, and make a reservation if the post is available.

"Infrastructure readiness and consumer acceptance are and will continue to be imperatives to the success of electric vehicles, however the industry must now focus on the management aspect. It will be how we support EV market growth from an interoperable and scalable level," said Allan Schurr, Vice President, Strategy and Development of IBM's Global Energy and Utilities Industry. "For utilities, this project tackles both front and back office operations by addressing business services such as billing, yet at the same time, also provides continued access to real-time data needed to monitor and forecast the impact on the grid." This initiative along with the recently announced Smarter Charging demonstration with American Honda Motor Co. Inc. and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), as well as the EKZ Smartphone Application pilot, demonstrates IBM's ongoing focus to improve driver services, increase renewable generation, and intelligently manage electric vehicles.

ESB Networks is responsible for the roll out of electric vehicle infrastructure in Ireland and the operation of supporting IT/communications systems.

More information: www.esb.ie/ecars http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet ((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))

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