Partner spotlight: Itron, Mercedes-Benz, Enel, Bechtel, MasterCard, Alstom

This information provided by Smart Cities Council North America.
Fri, 2015-05-29 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Scroll down for short takes from Council partners…

Itron tapped to modernize Italy's natural gas distribution system
Linea Distribuzione, the natural gas provider in eight provinces in Northern Italy, has signed a contract with Council Lead Partner Itron to modernize its gas distribution system. It will pilot Itron’s ChoiceConnect Network solution, marking its first deployment in Europe. The solution will be deployed in the city of Crema to manage approximately 17,000 meters and will be operated by Itron. "Linea Distribuzione chose to work with Itron because the company is a well-known, reliable player in the smart metering space with a comprehensive solution offering," said CTO G. Duchi. "In addition to helping us comply with the mandate for the rollout of smart meters, the ChoiceConnect Network solution will give us better insights into our gas distribution systems."

Mercedes-Benz develops door-to-door navigation app for Apple Watch
Can't find where you parked your car? Council Lead Partner Mercedes-Benz will launch the MB Companion App for the Apple Watch, giving its customers a door-to-door navigation option. As Mercedes-Benz explains it: "A seamless integration unfolds: giving walking directions to the car on the Apple Watch, driving directions on the vehicle navigation system and again walking directions on the Apple Watch from the car to the final destination." The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class and S-Class vehicles equipped with COMAND Online will be able to work with the MB Companion App as of fall 2015, with other models following soon.

Enel plans major renewable and grid investments in Africa
The Italian utility giant through its Enel Green Power unit is constructing a solar power plant in the Free State Province in South Africa that, when fully operational, will be able to generate more than 150 GWh per year, equivalent to the annual consumption needs of around 48,000 South African households. Energy generated by the Pulida plant will be sold to the South African utility Eskom. In an interview with Reuters, Enel CEO Francesco Starace revealed plans for huge investments in Africa, including both renewable energy and power grids. "For us, Africa is the next Latin America," Starace told Reuters. Enel is a Council Lead Partner.

Top U.S contractor for 17 years running? ENR says it's Bechtel
Engineering News-Record (ENR), a leading publication for the engineering and construction industry, has named Council Lead Partner Bechtel the top U.S. contractor for the 17th consecutive year. The company also ranked No. 1 on ENR specialized lists, including those for transportation and power. Among Bechtel's current projects are twin 13-mile rail tunnels beneath London, part of the massive Crossrail project, and a first-of-a-kind sustainable water-supply system linking the Pacific to a mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

MasterCard exec chosen for high-level UN panel on humanitarian financing
The Secretary General of the United Nations announced a high-level panel on humanitarian financing and named Walt Macnee, Vice Chairman of Council Lead Partner MasterCard and President of the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, as a member. Despite growth in financial support for humanitarian aid from governments and individuals, the demand for humanitarian aid has far outpaced the supply over the last decade, according to the announcement. This funding gap has been exacerbated by ongoing conflicts that have increased the number of refugees, as well as growing challenges around water and food supplies, rapid urbanization and others. The panel will examine humanitarian financing challenges and identify ways in which the gap between rising needs and the resources available to meet them can be closed.

Alstom will supply Power Grid's first "Make in India" gas-insulated substations
Alstom T&D India has been awarded a contract worth approximately €34 million by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (Power Grid) to supply two gas-insulated substations (GIS). The two substations will be located at Betul in Madhya Pradesh and Navsari in Gujarat. Both substations will be completely manufactured in India, making it Power Grid’s first ‘Make in India’ 400 kV GIS. Alstom notes that GIS is gaining popularity as the preferred technology in India, as it is compact and encapsulated, ideal for use in restricted areas and also suitable in locations with severe weather conditions. Alstom is a Council Lead Partner.

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