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ibmIBM has announced two new utilities joining the Global Intelligent Utilities Network Coalition. CPFL Energia from Brazil and Liander from the Netherlands are now members of the collective designed to push adoption of smarter energy distribution programs. The IUN Coalition now serves about 100 million customers worldwide.

IBM’s Energy & Utilities Industry manager Guido Bartels said in yesterday’s release that “the addition of these new members furthers the global scope of the coalition and accelerates how we can fundamentally change the way power is managed and distributed… Each utility company brings specific expertise to the table that allows members to apply new competencies to their own networks.”

Liander is the largest grid operator in the Netherlands and envisions an electric infrastructure piping only the cleanest renewable power to customers who use it at sustainable rates. Amongst other things, Liander is working to detect grid losses and eliminate them to increase efficiency. It isn’t as easy as it sounds — a vast network of sensory equipment is needed to locate problem spots without spending days on end in a pickup truck, visually inspecting the lines.

CPFL Energia is Brazil’s largest operator, home to distribution generation and trading businesses. The distribution branch handles 6.4 million customers in 568 cities throughout Brazil. The company operates 33 small hydro electric projects and owns significant stakes in 8 more. Currently, it’s generation capacity peaks at 1,704 MW but should reach 2,202 before 2010. In 2008, CPFL grossed $6.2 billion.

The Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition was formed by IBM in 2007 to “accelerate the use of smart grid technologies and move the industry forward through its most challenging transformation”.  Members include CenterPoint Energy, Pepco Holdings, San Diego Gas & Electric and North Delhi Power amongst others.

The GIUNC conducts both live and web based best practices meetings, trading information throughout the member organizations to make power distribution more efficient globally. As an examble of this growth-through-collaboration mentality, the CenterPoint Energy Smart Grid Demonstration Center provided some of the intellectual background Country Energy was looking for when they designed their own center in Queanbeyan, Australia.

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