Smart Grid Demonstration Project
A consortium of CleanTech LA members was awarded over $60 million in Smart Grid Demonstration funding to “green the grid” by developing, deploying and testing advanced smart grid technologies for electric vehicles, demand response, cyber security and studying consumer behavior.
A smart grid - a digital network enabling utilities, consumers and alternative sources of renewable energy to communicate - could steer electricity to where it is needed most. Current electric infrastructure is incapable of handling the increased strain associated with widespread adoption of electric cars and residential solar panels. In the national spotlight, Los Angeles is a critical testing stage for America’s second generation electricity grid.
The LA Smart Grid project is a consortium of Los Angeles’ top tier research universities (UCLA, USC and CalTech), NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility.
Smart Grid Research Focus Areas
The university campuses and sites throughout Los Angeles will be used as testing grounds replicating a full range of user infrastructure environments including commercial, medical, retail, semi-industrial, and residential to see how they can react to peak demand events to avoid additional power generation from fossil fuels.
This component will demonstrate the integration of electric vehicles into the electric grid. University and utility vehicle fleets include plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles, and Los Angeles is one of the largest early launch markets for consumer EV models. These vehicles will afford Los Angeles an opportunity to test electric vehicles in both the controlled environment of a corporate fleet and the “real world” usage of individuals.
The demonstration project will conduct a comprehensive portfolio of behavioral studies to identify people’s behavior and energy use to inform successful adoption of Smart Grid technologies. How will consumer’s energy consumption react to real time pricing signals? Will consumers raise privacy concerns about utility data gathering practices? Answering questions like these is key to implementing the smart grid.
As the grid becomes smarter and better connected, new system vulnerabilities must be identified and protected. Demonstrating next-generation cyber-security technologies, the regional project will drive specific system architecture and models that can provide enhanced data protection. The lessons learned will help ensure the smart grid is robust and can withstand attacks from hackers, terrorists and data thieves
Roles of CleanTech LA Members in the LA Smart Demonstration Project
Caltech and JPL:
Caltech and JPL will apply their extensive expertise in climate change science, remote sensing, environmental engineering and systems design to assist the city and the DWP in developing, maturing and deploying innovative technologies to improve energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energy sources, conserve water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
At UCLA, researchers will create smart climate-control systems, develop ways for consumers to respond to minute-by-minute energy fluctuations, and use electric cars to stabilize the grid.
At USC, an effort is being made to deploy new energy technologies on campus for evaluating the potential to improve the overall efficiency of the current electric grid system. Researchers are working in conjunction with the LADWP to develop new technology protocols for a smart electric grid network. This includes assessing the information needs and opportunities for a larger scale deployment of a smart electric grid.
The LA Smart Grid program is just one of many projects in which the three top-tier universities will jointly make energy and water technology assessments, develop models and test beds, perform technology demonstrations, and provide data to assist the city in making informed decisions.
Published: Wednesday, May 04, 2011