IBM Drives the Future of Renewable Energy with New Wind and Solar Forecasting System

Made in IBM labs: Advanced solution combines big data analytics and weather modeling technology to predict output of individual wind turbines

IBM has announced an advanced power and weather modeling technology that will help utilities increase the reliability of renewable energy resources.

The solution combines weather prediction and analytics to accurately forecast the availability of wind power and solar energy. With this solution, utilities will be able to integrate more renewable energy into the power grid, helping to reduce carbon emissions while significantly improving clean energy output for consumers and businesses.

Called “Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting” (HyRef), the solution uses weather modeling capabilities, advanced cloud imaging technology and sky-facing cameras to track cloud movements, while sensors on the turbines monitor wind speed, temperature and direction. What can it do? Get the rest of the story.

weather infographic

World’s largest renewable energy initiative uses IBM Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecasting technology to improve integration into the power grid (courtesy: IBM)

























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– Posted by Regan Kelly

On Earth Day, IBM Is Collaborating to Harness the Power of 2,000 Suns

Because of safety concerns, today’s solar collectors can concentrate only so much energy: too much in one place means enormous risk. But IBM is collaborating on developing a new collector dish that could avoid that – and it’s a major step forward in solar power efficiency.

sun graphic

The new collaboration between IBM, Airlight Energy and Swiss university partners 
will develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable of concentrating, on average, the power of 2,000 suns, onto hundreds of 1×1 cm chips. Read more from IBM Research.


What do you think of this exciting news, Greater IBM? Let us know in the Leave a Reply field below.

The Face of Innovation: Meet IBM Distinguished Engineer Anna Topol

Dr. Anna Topol, CTO, Energy and Utilities, IBM

Dr. Topol, CTO, Energy and Utilities, IBM

IBM last week christened a new generation of technology innovators, naming 66 new Distinguished Engineers from across the company.

The rank of Distinguished Engineer recognizes people for their outstanding technical accomplishments and their potential for breaking new ground in areas like cloud and mobile computing, Big Data analytics, social business, and many more.

This year’s new Distinguished Engineers include Dr. Anna Topol, IBM’s Chief Technology Officer for the Energy and Utilities sector. A native of Poland and mother of two, Topol holds a doctorate in physics and has earned nearly two dozen patents. She joined IBM in 2001.

Read the interview conducted by The Smarter Planet editorial team with Distinguished Engineer Dr. Anna Topol.



A Smarter Planet blog

Posted by Regan Kelly

IBM Centennial Grant supports movement for green schools in Singapore with SMART meters

singapore greenToday on Citizen IBM, Corporate Citizenship Manager and Singapore Green Building Council member Kok Chin (KC) Tay details how an IBM Centennial Grant is helping to support Singapore’s national movement for green schools. Specifically, a public-private partnership between IBM and Singapore’s Ministry of Education established Project Green Insights to help secondary and post-secondary students understand issues related to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability through education and hands-on projects.  Supported by an IBM Centennial Grant throughout 2012, this pilot program has developed strategies and activities to raise awareness around energy efficiency in 20 academic institutions in Singapore. Participating schools (19 secondary schools and one technical institute, the Institute of Technical Education College East) installed SMART meters to monitor live energy usage, and either created or strengthened their green clubs and developed “green ambassadors” among their student population to develop insights and actions based on the data from the meters projects.

Read more about it here:

singapore green2

Institute of Technical Education College East, Singapore


IBM Centennial Grants have helped enable programs to improve access to public information in Latin America, connect India’s rural entrepreneurs to outside markets, provide computer training for Ireland’s older citizens, create better lives for Turkish children with disabilities, and help Vermont (US) residents manage energy better through a program similar to Singapore’s Project Green Insights.

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Want to Cut Energy Usage? Use Social Media

by F. Michael Valocchi, Vice-President/Partner and Global Energy and Utilities Leader, IBM Global Business Services

F. Michael Valocchi headshot

IBM’s Michael Valocchi

f there was ever a time for consumers to get serious about conserving energy, it’s now.

July was the hottest month ever in the U.S., according to the federal government, and we’ve all seen pictures of parched farmland as the drought spreads to two-thirds of our nation’s farm fields.

Unfortunately, most consumers don’t know enough about their energy use to even start cutting back.

In fact, according to an IBM poll last year of 10,000 consumers, more than 30 percent of respondents had never heard of the term “dollar per kwh” and more than 60 percent didn’t recognize the terms “smart grids” or “smart meters.”

Utilities have provided lots of information and services designed to help consumers understand the difference between, say, drying clothes on a line versus in a dryer. We’ve been advised to turn off a dishwasher when it hits the dry-by-heating cycle. We have programmable thermostats in our hallways. Yet, there hasn’t been much of a change in individual behavior when it comes to energy savings.

That’s where social media can play a bigger role. Social media is custom made for bringing conservation front and center.

It’s now clear, based on studies by IBM and behavioral researchers, that money isn’t the biggest motivator in cutting energy use. Instead, it is a sense of belonging, achievement, competition, ease of use, sustainability — all these factors play crucial roles.

That’s why social media, with its connections, sharing, comparing, and real-time updates, can motivate people the way that won’t happen if the same information is communicated via a website, pamphlet in the mail, or advertisement on a bus. Social media can accomplish a few crucial tasks. It can:

Create a way to compete: An app on a phone or Facebook loaded with each individual’s home energy consumption data allows consumers to compete with their friends or family about who can cut the most energy use. Another approach is to load the apps with data from a neighborhood so folks can see how their energy usage compares with their neighbors. Some utilities are also sweetening the pot with prizes.

Share Tips Smartly: Our research found that the way a choice is framed and presented can make a big difference. For instance, people tend to get stuck if they’re bombarded with too many conservation tips at once, such as a list on a website. Using updates on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube can give consumers the option to navigate tips the way they want to and to dig into the ones that interest them or that other people found helpful.

Target a message: Age groups are motivated by very different factors. Our research found that people under 25 are galvanized by the environment and are two and half times more likely than folks over 55 to follow the lead of people in their networks. Big data and analytics lets you ramp up the impact of your messages by creating personalized tips on a massive scale, pinpointing influencers on Twitter or Pinterest, and tracking the tenor of discussions.

Utilities have more information on cutting energy use than consumers could ever use. They’ve just never had a way to get that information to customers in a way that motivates people to act.

Until now.

Social media is exactly the opportunity utilities have been looking for. And the leaders are already jumping on board.

For more information about IBM’s energy and utilities solutions, click here.


Are you trying to cut down on your energy usage? What changes have you made?

Coffee Nation: How Caffeine Affects Your Creativity

coffee cup with hearts in the foam

(photo by Laura D’Allessandro)

What’s happening internally as you’re downing your morning, afternoon, or evening cup of coffee or tea? Lots people have a coffee prior to sitting down to work, but how does caffeine actually affect your thinking, and especially your creativity? Read this post in by creativity expert Tanner Christensen, and learn what’s really going on when you reach for that second cup.

About the author:


Tanner Christensen is the creator of, Marketing Director @clearlink, an entrepreneur and a creativity expert. Follow him on Twitter: @tannerc


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-Posted by Regan Kelly