Patrick Kron, Alstom Chairman and CEO inaugurated the Smart Grid Centre of Excellence in Montpellier, France, in the presence of Jean-Pierre Moure, Président de la Communauté de l'Agglomération de Montpellier and Grégoire Poux-Guillaume, President of Alstom Grid.
This new technology pole will focus on command control and protection systems for digital control rooms. The development of the all-digital control room is key to the transition from conventional electrical grids to smart grids. The introduction of digital systems allows for the seamless integration of distributed and intermittent renewable energies into the grid, as well as improved interconnectivity between electricity networks, allowing each to function at optimal capacity.
"In a context of strong global competition, Alstom's Montpellier site will contribute to the advancement of the French and the European smart grid sector, for both the transmission and distribution of electricity. Alstom is dedicated to developing competences in France, and participating in the growing international influence of French innovation", said Patrick Kron.
The Smart Grid Centre of Excellence brings together the 250 employees - 80% of whom are engineers and managers - who were previously based on three different sites. The new buildings will house marketing, research & development and manufacturing teams, as well as sales and service, and a training centre in control room automation destined for Alstom customers. With 140 new collaborators recruited between 2010 and 2012, and a dynamic hiring programme that will continue through 2013, Alstom is actively searching for talent in the domains of industrial automation and management of technical and commercial projects.
The newly opened buildings comply with standards for low energy consummation, providing a 25% reduction in carbon emissions as compared to the previous sites. Equipped with solar panels, the project encourages the use of electric vehicles (cars and bicycles) by providing employees with parking places and charging stations.