General Electric announced today its new $40-million Grid IQ Innovation Centre, which will be located in Markham, Ontario, and will include a global testing and product simulation laboratory. This announcement reinforces one of my recent Clean Break columns about Ontario becoming a global hub for smart grid innovation.
The 200,000-square foot facility, supported by a $7.9-million grant from the Ontario government, will open in summer 2012 and also be a centre for product development and manufacturing. About 146 new jobs will be created over the next four years as the facility opens and ramps up. GE’s Markham facility is already the company’s global hub for transmission and distribution technologies, so this announcement is an expansion of that commitment into the emerging market for smart grid technologies and services.
Specific activities planned for GE’s Grid IQ Innovation Centre include leading edge research and development in substation and distribution automation, electrical system protection and control, microgrid control, and cyber security,” according to the company. “GE’s Grid IQ Innovation Centre should become a Canadian destination for companies and countries seeking to upgrade their energy systems. A testing and simulation laboratory can be utilized by global utilities to learn how the Centre’s technologies can help their specific infrastructures with simulations and testing before deployment.”
The company said products researched and developed at the site will be manufactured there as well. In fact, an existing manufacturing facility GE has in Calgary will relocate to Markham.