Coalition formed to develop San Diego smart grid

San Diego, Calif., September 17, 2009 – UC San Diego, San Diego Gas and Electric and CleanTECH San Diego announced the formation of a coalition of 25 local, national and global organizations to transform the San Diego region’s electrical grid into a digital smart grid.

The smart grid is a centerpiece of the new national energy policy, helping consumers save energy, take advantage of more sustainable energy choices and create new jobs in the green economy.

“Realizing the benefits of the smart grid is more than just a high-tech experiment,” said Michael R. Niggli, chief operations officer of SDG&E. “SDG&E was the first utility in the continental United States to agree to generate 33 percent of our electricity from renewable resources by 2020, and the smart grid will help pave the way to this goal and develop a more sustainable energy future for all of us.”

The smart grid incorporates every aspect of a modern energy system – renewable energy generation, advanced electric transmission and distribution technologies, smart metering and energy storage. The technology also seeks to help utility customers play a central role in not only the consumption of energy, but the production of it as well.

In addition to SDG&E, UC San Diego and CleanTECH San Diego, the organizations in the San Diego regional smart grid project include: IBM, GE, Cisco, Intel, Balance Energy, SAIC, Qualcomm, BMC Software, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc., S&C Electric Company, Itron, The Valley Group, On-Ramp Wireless, Plug Smart, Tradescape and the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

ntegral to the team will be the research and development resources at UC San Diego, University of California, Los Angeles and the “Energy Policy Initiatives Center” based at the University of San Diego School of Law. Supporters include the California Independent System Operator, California Energy Commission, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 465, and global support from Alliander in the Netherlands and North Delhi Power Limited.

The federal government has dedicated more than $4.5 billion to smart grid development as part of the economic stimulus package and the San Diego coalition is seeking $100 million of those funds for the project. The coalition will, in part, create a community-scale utility system within the region that can interconnect greater percentages of renewable generation at both the distribution- and transmission-system levels, store electricity and use automated sensors and communication technologies to help manage these intermittent energy resources.

The coalition also will focus on accommodating a growing number of electric vehicles and empower customers to exert greater control over their own energy usage with the most advanced technology. If successful, the prototype project could be recreated on a larger scale anywhere in the world.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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