For Immediate Release: March 14, 2012
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Awards $1.5 Million For Smart Grid Research Projects

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today awarded $1,499,999 for two research projects addressing smart grid.

Funding for both projects comes from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The smart grid is a system consisting of an electrical grid, a communication network, and computerized control systems to monitor, control, and manage the creation, distribution, storage, and consumption of electricity.

"The research will help take California's electrical grid into the 21st century by making it more responsive, robust, and efficient," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller.

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) will receive $1 million to install an advanced, wireless communications system that will be used to monitor and control smart grid devices. The Commission's funding is the cost-share for SDG&E's $28.1 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act award from the U.S. Department of Energy. SDG&E will provide the remaining funds for the $63.1 million project.

The communications system will use the latest in wireless technology to deliver digital data to and from smart grid devices. The system will also allow SDG&E to monitor, communicate with and control transmission and distribution equipment over a regional grid spanning 4,100 square miles, helping to accelerate the use of smart grid applications and devices.

The Commission also approved $499,999 to the University of California at Los Angeles to implement automated demand response with the campus' smart grid communications platform. In automated demand response, sensors and monitors collect data in real time, allowing buildings to monitor and respond automatically to commands from an utility or independent system operator. The research will help determine the most effective method of implementing demand response based on the behavior of residents living in campus dorms. The project will also explore new applications of automated demand response such as electrical vehicles and smart appliances.

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The Public Interest Energy Research program supports public interest research and development that helps improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products to the marketplace. For more information, visit

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.