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CPUC to Modernize the Electric Grid of California

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June 28, 2010

CPUC to Modernize the Electric Grid of California

By Anuradha Shukla
TMCnet Contributor
The California Public Utilities Commission announced it is launching a plan to help introduce "smart grid" technology with an eye toward modernizing the electric grid of California.

 
This plan is a culmination of more than two years of work by the CPUC and other entities such as utilities, technology companies, consumer advocates and other interested parties.
 
The CPUC intends to move away from industrial technology and instead adopt cutting-edge, information-age technology in order to significantly improve how the state generates, transmits, stores and uses electricity. Such a shift is expected to involve wind power, solar electricity, and electric vehicles.
 
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said that moving to a smart grid would permit utilities to assist customers in their drive to reduce energy costs. The electricity demand would be reduced and consumers would be given more control over their own energy usage. In addition, clean and renewable energy sources like solar and wind would be utilized.
 
A draft summary of the adoption plan to adopt a smart grid said that modernizing an electric grid with additional two-way communications, control technologies and sensors to detect and respond to system problems by "shifting" electricity around problematic areas - key components of a Smart Grid - could confer substantial benefits on consumers. This can help enable the integration of higher levels of energy storage, renewable energy and electric vehicles, and at a lower cost as well.
 
CPUC President Michael R. Peevey said that the current grid has been working the same way for over a century, and as such is unable to adapt to increasing demands and the presence of new resources. The roadmap the CPUC is providing, he said, will be able to ensure that the best information regarding these policies can be obtained.
 
State Senator Alex Padilla sponsored the bill to put together a guidance plan to introduce smart-grid technology. He said that thoughtful planning is key to the success of this initiative, and that he was pleased to see that the CPUC is preparing a roadmap to modernize the electric grid, which will help provide consumers with key benefits.
 
The commissioner in charge of the proceeding to establish the plan, Commissioner Nancy E. Ryan, said that smart-grid technology can offer consumers in California major benefits such as lower energy costs, cleaner air, and more reliable and safer service. She added that this planning process is geared to help ensure that utility customers would actually be able to enjoy such benefits.
 
In related news, HomePlug (News - Alert) Green PHY specification for smart grid applications is now available as reported by TMCnet.

Anuradha Shukla is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anuradha's article, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri
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