PG&E releases smart grid plan


Christopher P.
Johns, President,
San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 5, 2011 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has published its vision for the smart grid and a broad plan for modernizing its electric infrastructure to deliver a host of energy and cost savings to customers.

The 290 page plan, which was provided in response to a requirement by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), represents “a disciplined and integrated approach to using new monitoring and control technology to support PG&E’s mission of providing safe, reliable, responsive and environmentally sustainable service to its customers,” it states.

The plan adopts 10 high priority smart grid strategic objectives in four program areas, as follows:

  • Engaged consumers:
    • Leverage SmartMeter™ technology for direct customer benefit
    • Improve the use of demand response resources for operational efficiency
    • Support the expanding market for electric vehicles
  • Smart energy markets:
    • Improve the forecasting of market
    • Integrate and manage large-scale renewable resources
  • Smart utility:
    • Enhance grid outage detection, isolation, and restoration
    • Enhance grid system monitoring and control
    • Manage grid system voltage and losses
    • Manage transmission and distribution asset condition
  • Foundational and cross-cutting smart grid infrastructure:
    • Provide foundational and cross-cutting utility systems, facilities and programs necessary to continuously improve the application of new smart grid technologies

To support these, and building on smart grid projects that are under way, PG&E has identified 21 incremental smart grid projects, including 14 business area projects, four foundational information technology initiatives to support the business area projects, and three supporting area projects.

“We developed this plan with a clear focus on what our customers want and value,” said PG&E president Christopher P. Johns. “Our plan is a new vision for providing customers with safe, clean, affordable and reliable service and promoting new growth opportunities for green jobs and businesses in California.”

These projects are forecast to cost approximately $800 million to $1.25 billion in capital and $500 million to $700 million in cumulative operating expenses over the next 20 years, while the benefits are estimated at $600 million to $1.4 billion in lower energy procurement costs, $200 million to $400 million in avoided capital costs, and $100 million to $200 million in avoided operating and maintenance costs.

In addition a 10 to 20 percent improvement in system reliability is anticipated, along with 1.4 to 2.1 million metric tons of avoided carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.