North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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Page 44 of 83

PROVIDED BY DUKE ENERGY 43 N O RT H C A R O L I N A E CO N O M I C D E V E LO P M E N T G U I D E I n a fi eld on the western edge of Raleigh stands the tall antenna tower of WPTF, a 50,000-watt AM talk-radio station. Going on the air in 1924, it took its current call letters in 1927, making it the second-oldest licensed broadcast station in North Carolina. The Curtis Media Group- owned station also is one of the most powerful. Its daytime signal reaches beyond the state's borders, but it must throttle back that power at night, when signals "skip" across the ionosphere and interfere with other broadcasts. The tower also bears antennas that trans- mit other signals, including the emergency communications system that provides information to fi rst responders. It's a vital public-safety link that must stay in the air, especially during hurricanes and tornadoes. But those storms can silence it by cutting the power. Backup generators provide a short-term solution but lose their effective- ness when outages stretch beyond a few days. The best solution is to protect the power supply. Kevin O'Hara knows how to do that. He is vice president and general manager for smart-grid services at Siemens Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Siemens AG, the German company based in Berlin and Munich. It employs about 400 in the Raleigh suburb of Wendell, where it develops power-distribution and transmis- sion technology. O'Hara's solution is called the Siemens Distribution Feeder Automation system. It resides in the power grid — the matrix of transmission lines, substations and other components that moves electricity from production to consumption — and detects outages and reroutes power around them to keep the lights on at hospitals, water-treatment plants and emergency-communications towers. "That system," he says, "was designed, developed and completely commercialized right here in Wendell." Siemens' system is an example of clean technology — products, processes and services that reduce waste and use as few nonrenewable resources as possible. Clean tech stretches beyond electricity. B Y S C O T T H U L E R Using its smarts, a region works to become the Silicon Valley of the clean-tech industry. Companies engaged in clean technology need a source of educated workers and an environment that nurtures innovation. The Triangle's world-famous universities and the high-tech economy that has grown up around Research Triangle Park provide that. Solution: Challenge: Smar y reroutes electricity around outages to keep it fl o Triangle region are dev lotte-based Duke Energ C A S E S T U D Y TO MUSTER A CLUSTER Research Triangle

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