ABB announces Smart Grid Center of Excellence in Raleigh, N.C.

Sept. 23, 2010
Initial $10 million investment by ABB helps launch engineering, R&D and demonstration lab to be housed on N.C. State University's Centennial Campus in Raleigh.

CARY, N.C. – ABB announced today it is expanding its Raleigh, N. C., facility to include a technology center devoted to the smart grid, known as the Smart Grid Center of Excellence. ABB is making an initial investment of $10 million in the technology center.

ABB will initially house the Smart Grid COE in its existing Centennial Campus facilities at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, with plans to build and lease out space on the Centennial Campus for a permanent facility nearby. The center will initially house several full-time dedicated ABB employees. These positions will be supported by the state of North Carolina, after the state's Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) committee recently approved grants for new engineering positions in Wake County.

"As the world's largest supplier of power transmission and distribution systems, ABB has always been on the leading edge of power technology," said Enrique Santacana, ABB region manager for North America. "This initiative reaffirms ABB's commitment to the smart grid and positions us to play an even larger leadership role in its development and implementation."

Santacana said ABB's long history with the state played a key factor in Raleigh's selection. "ABB has a positive, long-standing relationship with North Carolina, and Raleigh in particular," he said. "The combination of North Carolina's support for technology innovation, our great partnership with N.C. State University, the abundance of engineering talent, support from state officials and the Triangle's growing reputation as a hotbed of smart-grid activity make Raleigh the right place to make this investment."

The Smart Grid Center of Excellence (COE) will include a testing and development laboratory, a verification center to certify customer solutions before deployment and a demonstration center that will showcase ABB's smart grid technologies and collaborative partnerships. ABB will work closely with the FREEDM Systems Center, a strategic partner of ABB's that also is based on Centennial Campus of N.C. State. The FREEDM Systems Center was established in 2008 by NSF to develop smart grid technology based on advanced power electronics and information technology.

"This is a very important development," said Dr. Alex Huang, Progress Energy Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering, FREEDM Systems Center. "This new initiative by ABB will further enhance our collaboration. We are excited that ABB has initiated this new Smart Grid Center of Excellence, and we look forward to collaborating with ABB right here in our own backyard."

ABB will operate this smart grid technology center, which ABB officials believe will enable collaboration and partnerships with several local entities in the power industry, including the FREEDM Center, local utilities, such as Duke Energy and Progress Energy, and other local metering and communications companies.

"It is clear the Raleigh and Triangle region and North Carolina in general is gaining momentum and quickly becoming a national smart grid hub--with so many energy companies and utilities bolstering their presence here on top of ongoing world-class research and development and educational initiatives coming from N.C. State," said Adrienne Cole, Executive Director of the Raleigh Economic Development Council.

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.