ABB Endorses Major Smart Grid Research Center at N.C. State University

Sept. 24, 2008
ABB to support FREEDM System, following $28.5 million NSF grant, with technology development modernizing the power grid and speeding renewable energy development Washington, DC, Sept. 24, 2008 –- ABB, a power and automation technology company, today ...
ABB to support FREEDM System, following $28.5 million NSF grant, with technology development modernizing the power grid and speeding renewable energy development

Washington, DC, Sept. 24, 2008 –- ABB, a power and automation technology company, today announced it has formally endorsed the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center, headquartered at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, N.C.

ABB was the initial supporter of the N.C. State-located FREEDM Center, though more than 65 utility companies, electrical equipment manufacturers, alternative energy start-ups and other established and emerging firms are now part of this global partnership.

The announcement was made at GridWeek 2008, a U.S. Department of Energy conference in Washington, D.C. aimed at advancing smart grid initiatives.

“We are honored that N.C. State is leading this important research, and we are equally honored to partner with ABB as we help to create the smart grid of the 21st century,” said Dr. Alex Huang, Progress Energy Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State and the new FREEDM Center director. “We could not have accomplished this without the enormous resources and expertise of ABB and our other partners. I look forward to joining forces with ABB as we help prepare our country and the world to take full advantage of abundant renewable energy resources through the smart grid.”

ABB – as both the world's largest power equipment provider and an industry leader in the research that will yield the next generation of smart grid technology – will continue to financially support and play a key role in this Smart Grid initiative.

Since October 2007, ABB has been heavily involved in parallel research and development activities through the ABB Corporate Research Center – located on the progressive NCSU Centennial Campus next to ABB's Power Products and Power Systems North American headquarters – that compliment the work being done by FREEDM. Thanks to its close proximity, ABB enjoys an extensive, ongoing partnership with NCSU. The results of FREEDM will in turn further ABB's activity in developing the smart grid.

The FREEDM Center was recently selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to lead a $28.5 million research initiative to develop smart grid technology that will revolutionize the nation's power grid that can easily store and distribute energy from renewable sources.

The NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) FREEDM Systems will partner with universities, industry, and national laboratories across the globe. An ERC award is one of the largest and most prestigious awards granted by NSF. FREEDM ERC is one of five new ERC's awarded by the NSF's Generation Three ERC Program.

“As an innovator, industrial leader and manufacturer of power transmission and distribution equipment, and as a pioneer in the smart grid of the 21st century, ABB strongly supports the creation of the proposed NSF Smart Grid ERC and intends to actively participate as an industry affiliate,” said Le Tang, ABB vice president and director of the Corporate Research Center in Raleigh. “In addition, we share the ERC's vision of promoting the education of power engineers for the next generation. This is among the top priorities within ABB Corporate Research.”

The core universities of the FREEDM Center are N.C. State University, Arizona State University, Florida A&M University, Florida State University and the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The core international universities of the center are RWTH Aachen University in Germany and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland.

What is a “smart grid”?

The term “smart grid” refers to a wide range of technologies and operating procedures that will make today's power system into a grid that is largely automated, applying greater intelligence to operate, monitor and even heal itself. The “smart grid” will utilize the same basic power delivery infrastructure that is used today, but will also draw on advanced monitoring, control and communications technology.

ABB takes an expansive view of the smart grid, defining it by its capabilities and operational characteristics rather than by the use of any particular technology. The smart grid will act as an enabler for all forms of renewable energy generation.

About ABB

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 115,000 people. The company's North American operations, headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, employ about 12,000 people in 20 manufacturing and other major facilities.


Bill Rose

ABB Media Relations

919-807-5743 - office

919-244-4879 - mobile

[email protected]

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