California smart grid toolkit


By: SGN Staff


California smart grid projects


Amber Kinetics flywheel energy storage demonstration

Amber Kinetics is developing a flywheel system from sub-scale research prototype to full-scale mechanical flywheel battery and will conduct both a commercial-scale and a utility-scale demonstration. The goal is to deliver a cost-effective prototype flywheel system that can be grid connected and electrically charged and discharged. The system will have built-in sensing components that can determine frequency and voltage characteristics of the grid and can override the grid signal to manage the amount of electricity discharged. The flywheel stores energy in a spinning rotor that is connected to an electric motor that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. Get details >>


Anaheim AMI project

The City of Anaheim’s smart grid project involves a city-wide deployment of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and an expansion of distribution automation capabilities, which include circuit switches, remote fault indicators, and smart relays. Customers can enroll to receive programmable communicating thermostats that assist in managing electricity use and costs. These activities allow Anaheim to manage, measure, and verify targeted demand reductions during peak periods. The new AMI and distribution automation technologies help improve service quality and reliability by enabling improved outage management, distribution circuit monitoring, and automated circuit switching. Get details >>


Burbank Water and Power smart grid initiative

Burbank Water and Power’s (BWP) smart grid program includes smart meters, communications infrastructure, outage management system, distribution automation, time-based rate programs, advanced customer service options, demand response, and electric vehicle charging stations. The project implements two-way communications and metering to enable customers to view their energy consumption at their convenience through systems such as web portals. The project also includes distribution automation to enhance the reliability and quality of electric delivery and reduce operations and maintenance costs. In addition, the project includes controls for distributed energy resources to manage peak electric demand and integrate renewable resources into grid operations. Get details >>


Glendale AMI smart grid initiative

The City of Glendale’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project involves system-wide deployment of advanced meters, use of customer systems and in-home displays, installation of distribution automation equipment systems, and management of distributed energy storage. The project aims to reduce peak loads, overall electricity use, and operations and maintenance costs while increasing distribution system efficiency and reliability. The project implements secure wireless communications to (1) allow customers to view their electricity consumption through Web portals and displays at any time, and (2) allow Glendale to manage, measure, and verify targeted demand reduction during peak periods. In addition to the AMI deployment, Glendale is upgrading selected feeders with distribution automation equipment to improve the operational efficiency as well as system reliability. Get details >>


Irvine smart grid demonstration

Southern California Edison (SCE) and its partners will deploy advanced smart grid SG) technologies in an integrated system to be more reliable, secure, economic, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly. The technology demonstrations will include three main areas: (1) Energy Smart Customer Devices such as smart appliances, home scale energy storage, and photovoltaic (PV) solar systems to achieve Zero Net Energy homes and Zero Grid Impact electric vehicle (EV) charging at work; (2) Year 2020 Distribution System including distribution automation with looped circuit topology, advanced voltage/VAR control, advanced distribution equipment, smart metering, utility-scale storage, and dispatched renewable distributed generation; and (3) a Secure Energy Network to demonstrate end-to-end management of a complex high performance telecommunication system linking the CAISO to SCE’s back office, field networks, and energy smart devices in the home. Get details >>


LADWP smart grid regional demonstration

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is collaborating with a consortium of research institutions to develop new smart grid technologies, quantify costs and benefits, validate new models, and create prototypes to be adapted nationally. The project consists of four broad initiatives including:


·         Demand Response (DR): perform an integrated demonstration of Smart grid operations and technology as applied to DR. Test bed sites will investigate a full range of user environments: residential, commercial, light industrial, and institutional


·         Electric Vehicle (EV) Integration into the LADWP Grid: demonstrate aspects such as smart charging and battery aggregation; renewables and EV battery integration; an operational microgrid; and EV test bed sites at USC and UCLA


·         Customer Behavior: demonstrate a comprehensive portfolio of studies and focused surveys related to the impact of Smart grid communications systems and processes on customer usage; energy savings from using Smart grid enabled interfaces; pricing options and programs; and effective messaging and incentives regarding electric vehicles


·         Next-Generation Cyber Security: demonstrate technologies to show grid resilience against physical and cyber-attack, an operational testing approach for components & installed systems, and redefine the security perimeter to address Smart grid technologies. Get details >>

Modesto Irrigation District smart grid project

The Modesto Irrigation District’s (MID) smart deployment and installation project involves an installation of smart meters, implementation of customer interface systems, and automation of its distribution systems. The project focuses its smart meter deployment to Mountain House Development, a single isolated area with approximately 4,000 customer sites. The project also implements a customer web portal to enable the customers to view their energy consumption in near real-time fashion. The project aims to reduce peak demand, reduce system-wide losses, reduce outage durations and frequency, and improve voltage control. The expanded smart meter coverage and introduction of a web portal allows MID to pursue time-based rate programs in the future. Get details >>


PG&E advanced underground compressed air energy storage

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will validate the design, performance, and reliability of and, build an advanced, underground Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) plant in California, using a porous rock formation as the storage reservoir. The CAES plant will be approximately 300 MW with 10 hours of storage. Porous rock formations are much more plentiful than the salt domes now used by the two operational plants in Alabama and Germany. If this geology is proven viable, this technology has the potential to be replicated throughout California and elsewhere in the United States. The project is also differentiated by its potential use of a new CAES plant design that is much more efficient than first generation Alabama and German designs. Furthermore, an experimental and innovative aspect of this project will involve an option for future use of thermal storage to test the potential of adiabatic CAES, a "third-generation” technology that would completely eliminate the use of fuel for a CAES plant. Get details >>


Primus Power wind firming EnergyFarm

Primus Power is deploying a 25 MW/75 MWh EnergyFarmâ„¢ in the Modesto Irrigation District substation in California that consists of a series of EnergyPodsâ„¢; a plug-and -play zinc-flow battery combined with off-the-shelf components and power electronics housed inside a standard shipping container. The modular design and operation will be field tested at Pacific Gas & Electric with support from Sandia National Lab and the Electric Power Research Institute. The EnergyFarmâ„¢ will displace a planned $78M fossil fuel plant. EnergyFarmsâ„¢ can firm intermittent wind energy and mitigate energy price spikes. During a spike the farm switches to full dispatch power, reducing energy purchases during costly periods, capturing multiple revenue streams, and shortening return on investment. Get details >>


SDG&E grid communication system

San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) Grid Communication System project includes the installation of a fully integrated wireless communication system covering up to 90% of the utility’s customers. The project aims to enhance reliability and reduce outage durations and operations and maintenance costs. The project implements two-way communications and applications to: (1) allow SDG&E to integrate new advanced metering infrastructure and distribution automation equipment, and (2) provide increased system visibility and identify the scope and location of outages. Get details >>


Seeo solid state batteries for grid-scale energy storage

Seeo and its partners are demonstrating a large-scale prototype of a solid-state electrolyte lithium-ion rechargeable battery for use in smart grid energy storage applications. Seeo seeks to validate this technology to address the needs of Community Energy Storage Systemsâ€"small (less than 100 kW) distributed energy storage systems alongside pad-mounted and pole-mounted transformers. The 25kWh battery pack is more than a 50 percent improvement in weight and energy density; has 10-15+ year operating life with 3,000-5,000 or more cycles; has no volatile or flammable components; and will be 35 percent cheaper than existing lithium-ion batteries. This approach allows independent control over mechanical and electrical properties. Get details >>


SmartSacramento project

Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) SmartSacramento project involves system-wide deployment of an advanced metering system integrated with existing enterprise and information technology systems as well as a partial deployment of advanced distribution grid assets that equip SMUD’s distribution circuits with automated control and operation capabilities. The project also involves customer systems that provide usage and cost information to customers that educate and enable more control over their consumption. These systems enable more informed participation by customers and more effective management by SMUD to improve reliability and efficiency of grid operations and better optimize the use of assets. The project includes a field test of plug-in electric vehicle charging stations to assess their technical performance, vehicle charging patterns, and effects on electric distribution system operations. Get details >>


Tehachapi wind energy storage project

The Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage project is evaluating the performance of an 8 MW, 4 hour (32 MWh) lithium-ion battery system to improve grid performance and integration with large-scale wind-powered electricity generation. Southern California Edison (SCE) will site the system at its Monolith substation on the Antelope-Bailey system. Antelope-Bailey is part of the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area, where up to 4,500 MW of wind resources will come online by 2015. The project team will measure performance under 13 specific operational uses: voltage support and grid stabilization; decreased transmission losses; diminished congestion; increased system reliability; deferred transmission investment; optimize size and cost of renewable energy-related transmission; system capacity and resources adequacy; renewable energy integration; wind generation output shifting; frequency regulation; spin/non-spin replacement reserves; ramp rate; and energy price arbitrage. Most of the operations either shift wind and conventional power to meet peak load and other electricity system needs with stored electricity, or resolve grid instability and capacity issues that result from the interconnection of wind generation resources. Get details >>

News and trends in California


California Proposition 39 results in $2.5 billion for energy efficiency

California Proposition 39 results: 60 percent of voters approve measure to close tax loophole and fund clean energy and energy efficiency projects in public buildings. For a tax measure, California Proposition 39 had surprisingly little organized opposition.  Read more from the Christian Science Monitor >>


Pressure mounts for California to import renewable energy

Due to a combination of technical issues with the grid and Jerry Brown's policy, California has officially been planning to meet most of its Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements with renewable energy generated inside state lines. Read more from KCET >>


Retail HAN devices with Zigbee move into Southern Cal

Here's a little something utility folks might find interesting: Residential energy management product developer Rainforest Automation has partnered with Southern Cal Edison (SCE) to sell its smart meter-reading EMU Energy Monitoring Unit directly consumers at six Best Buy stores in southern California. Read more from Smart Grid News >>


U.S. energy industry getting serious about marine power generation

Marine energy, not long ago considered a "yeah, maybe someday" option in the renewable energy sector, is getting quite a lot of attention lately: from the energy industry, federal and state governments, universities and the military. The hot spots are the west coast (specifically Oregon and California) and Alaska.  Read more from Smart Grid News >>


California and the U.S. military: A powerful partnership for clean energy

Recently, California took a bold step into the future when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Energy Security Coordination Act. This aligns California with the Department of Defense in our shared pursuit of clean energy. Passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the state legislature, this is a winning proposition for Californians, who stand to benefit from enhanced national security as well as from the economic growth that clean energy development brings to our state. Read more from the Huffington Post >>


California utilities rank IT/OT needs

The integration of information technology and operations technology (IT/OT) has lit up the energy industry recently.  Part of the overall smart grid evolution, the communication of IT and OT may be the key to building a platform for a more intelligent distribution network. Read more at Fierce Energy >>


Are California smart meters causing fires?

The renewable energy trade press has been buzzing the last few weeks with news of PECO Energy's renewal of its smart meter installation program, two months after it suspended that program out of concern over fire risk. PECO, which serves about 1.6 million electric customers in the Philadelphia area, stopped installing smart meters in August after 29 reports of the meters overheating, with several fires as a result -- two of which spread beyond their meter boxes. The utility is replacing some of the previously installed meters, built by the Sensus company, with other models provided by Landis + Gyr, who will provide meters for remaining installations. And the question arises: could the same issue happen in California? Read more at KCET >>


California PUC to utilities: Get moving on smart meter HANs

The California Public Utilities Commission has directed the state's investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to begin making smart meters' built-in home area network (HAN) functionality and benefits accessible to customers on a consistent, statewide basis, and to enable a third-party market that allows customers to choose their own HAN devices to monitor their energy consumption. Read more from Renew Grid >>


A new twist on financing commercial efficiency upgrades

The absence of attractive financing options can put the brakes on commercial property owners' plans to significantly upgrade the efficiency of their buildings. But 14 California counties and 126 cities have joined forces to launch the country's largest PACE program to help those owners finance energy and water efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. Read more at Smart Grid News >>


No energy storage = no solar project?

Of the five power purchase agreements between BrightSource Energy, a solar thermal company, and Southern California Edison under consideration, two have received a thumbs down from California Public Utilities Commission staff.  Read more at Smart Grid News >>


California utilities


Private companies

Pacific Gas & Electric


San Diego Gas & Electric  

Sierra Pacific Power

Southern California Edison



City of Anaheim

City of Burbank Water and Power

City of Glendale

City of Los Angeles  

City of Palo Alto

City of Pasadena

City of Redding

City of Riverside

City of Roseville

City of Santa Clara

City of Vernon

City & County of San Francisco  

Turlock Irrigation District


Political Subdivisions

Sacramento Municipal Utility District


Web resources


California Energy Commission

Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency 

Energy Policy Initiatives Center: Legislation

Secretary of State / Business Programs 

California Public Utilities Commission

California Solar Energy Industries Assn

Northern California Solar Energy Assn

California Wind Energy Assn


State energy contacts


California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS #39
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512

Phone: 916.654.5403
Fax: 916.654.4423

Valerie T. Hall
Deputy Director, Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Melissa Jones
Executive Director

John Butler
Energy Efficiency Conservation

Block Grant Program Manger

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