Smart Grid Research

The Energy Commission's vision of the Smart Grid is the thoughtful integration of intelligent technologies and innovative services that produce a more efficient, sustainable, economic, and secure electrical supply for California communities. To reach this vision, the Energy Commission supports research that combines the electricity grid with intelligent communications and control systems to create a highly automated, responsive, and resilient power delivery system that optimizes services and empowers customers to make informed energy decisions. Integrated communications enables the smart power grid to continuously send, receive, and process data on system conditions, component health and power flows, as well as pass information among intelligent electronic devices, generators, independent system operators, marketers, and consumers. A smart grid with these characteristics will also allow for the integration of increased levels of renewable generation resources, accommodate increased loads associated with electric vehicle transportation, and provide increased participation of ratepayers through localized controls and intelligent communication technologies.

Smart Grid Goals

  • Create a smart energy infrastructure that provides environmental benefits, low system costs, and reliable service.
  • Enable integration of renewables, distributed generation, demand response, and storage.
  • Improve capacity, utilization, and performance of existing and new transmission and distribution systems.
  • Improve reliability of the overall electricity system.
  • Empower consumers by enabling distributed renewables, electric vehicles, and home area networks to allow customers to meet their energy needs and lower their energy costs.

Smart Grid Benefits

  • Synchronizes connection and operation of electrical generator technologies.
  • Increases quality, reliability, and security of electrical supply.
  • Increases efficiency of electrical services.
  • Provides opportunity for consumers to participate in optimizing system operation.
  • Provides broader electrical supply choices for consumers.
  • Promotes job creation in related technological and service industries.

Smart Grid Research Focus Areas

Why is Smart Grid important to California?

With advances in commercially available technology and continued population growth in California, demand for electricity will increase on an aging electricity network that is already over 50 years old. By proactively enhancing California's electricity network, the Energy Commission is helping to more efficiently manage and distribute available electricity supply and prepare for the integration of more renewable energy and storage options to the grid. By funding Smart Grid research and development, the Energy Commission is helping to secure an economically sustainable and reliable electrical supply for California communities.

ETSI Contact at the California Energy Commission

Jamie Patterson
Senior Electrical Engineer - Team Lead, Energy Technology Systems Integration Research
California Energy Commission, MS 43
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512
Phone: (916) 327-2342
Email: jamie.patterson@energy.ca.gov
Please put "Smart Grid Inquiry" in the subject line of your email.