IBM announced the company is working with Pacific Northwest National Labs, the U.S. Department of Energy and Sears/Whirlpool on two research studies designed to fortify the National Grid. The studies are part of a northwest regional initiative to test and speed adoption of new smart grid technologies that can make the power grid more resilient and efficient.There are currently two studies launched that will take place over the course of one year. Through the "GridWise" Demonstration projects, researchers will gain insight into energy consumers' behavior while allowing homeowners to measure their electricity usage and adjust according to billing preferences and their impact of energy use on the National Grid.

The studies are primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.  About 300 volunteers on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, in Yakima and in Gresham, Ore., will test equipment that is expected to make the grid more reliable while offsetting huge investments in new transmission and distribution equipment. Washington was selected as the test bed based on the fact that the Northwest region of the National Grid is under serious strain due to large population and industrial growth.

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