Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has formed the Accenture Intelligent City Network, bringing together utilities and city authorities around the world who are committed to deploying smart electric grids — power systems that combine traditional and new technology to manage the flow of energy more effectively and efficiently than previously possible.
The Accenture Intelligent City Network connects utility executives and metropolitan leaders to exchange knowledge and practical experience on the planning, challenges and advantages of smart-grid technology. The Network will help create blueprints for the deployment of smart grids, including the integration of smart grids with broader investments in intelligent infrastructures, such as smart buildings and transportation, as well as new technologies and emerging standards.
Initial members of the Accenture Intelligent City Network include Minneapolis, Minn.-based Xcel Energy, which is working with Accenture on its SmartGridCityTM project in Boulder, Colo.; East China Grid Co., a Chinese transmission company; Russian Interregional Distribution Grid Company of Centre (MRSK of Centre), which will be creating an “intelligent” city in Belgorod in collaboration with the regional government; Dutch utility Alliander N.V. and the City of Amsterdam.
“Because cities are the largest emitters of carbon, city authorities are critical to the successful introduction of smart grids,” said Sander van ’t Noordende, group chief executive of Accenture's Resources operating group. “We’re bringing utilities and cities together to accelerate smart-grid deployment because city authorities are in the best position to coordinate the many public- and private-sector stakeholders involved in the fight against carbon emissions and to transform the energy consumption habits of local communities.”
Accenture will leverage its expertise in smart-grid projects to help provide Network members with technology solutions and strategic advice for the planning, testing and implementation of smart-grid technologies. Accenture will also use its smart-grid assets and draw on its deep industry knowledge to help the Network’s members achieve their goals of improving energy efficiency, transforming urban environments for sustainability and offering consumers more energy options. The Network’s members will also have access to innovative technology solutions being developed at the Accenture Technology Labs, the R&D organization within Accenture.
Mike Carlson, Xcel Energy’s vice president & chief information officer, said, “Energy management, customer service and environmental management strategies can all be enhanced with smart-grid technologies and through a partnership between utilities and city and state regulatory leaders. As a company committed to realizing the benefits of a smarter and more efficient electric grid for our customers, the communities we serve and the environments in which we operate, Xcel Energy is excited to become a member of the Accenture Intelligent City Network to collaborate with and learn from other utilities and cities. We are pleased that Accenture is not only leading in this thinking but is working with utilities to help make an intelligent city a reality.”
Unlike today’s conventional power networks, smart grids will ensure the reliable, economic delivery of high-quality, sustainable energy, particularly renewable energy sources such as wind and solar; support the growing trend of domestic electricity generation and the use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; and enable consumers to make informed choices regarding the use of energy.
Joke van Antwerpen, director of Amsterdam Innovation Motor, which is affiliated with the City of Amsterdam, said, “Smart grids underpin the development of smart cities by helping to change the behavior of communities and the way they consume energy. The Accenture Intelligent City Network will accelerate the deployment of smart grids and allow cities to exchange experience on their efforts to improve the efficiency and carbon footprint of urban centers.”
David Rouls, managing director of the transmission & distribution practice in Accenture’s Utilities industry group, said, “The implementation of ‘intelligent’ solutions such as smart grids is complex, requiring a utility and a city to collaborate at various levels on the strategy, technology, infrastructure, governance and transformation approaches needed. Accenture is committed to providing strategic advice and facilitating the partnership between utilities and cities around the world to deliver tangible outcomes for their stakeholders.”
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 186,000 people serving clients in over 120 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$23.39 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2008. Its home page is www.accenture.com.