Smart grid scorecard for California utilities released by Environmental Defense Fund


Miriam Horn,
Director of EDF’s
smart grid initiative
Sacramento, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 7, 2011 – The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has released a framework against which California’s smart grid deployment plans can be critically evaluated.

The framework, which is aligned to the state smart grid roadmap, comprises four goals – reduced from the California Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) 11 goals – namely:

  • Empowering consumers
  • Creating a platform for technologies and services
  • Enabling sales of demand side resources in wholesale markets
  • Reducing the environmental footprint.

Each of these is scored in five sections, i.e. the vision, strategy, metrics, baseline, and roadmap.

Under the California PUC’s roadmap, which was released last June based on the provisions of state law SB 17, utility smart grid investments are required to help California meet its climate change, demand side management and renewable energy goals.

The EDF played a key role in shaping the CPUC guidelines, which the state’s three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) – are required to use in designing and deploying their smart grids. These plans are due to the PUC by July 1 and EDF will score them in mid-to-late July.

In addition to developing this report card, EDF has worked with SDG&E on its plan, which emphasizes that the need for a smarter grid is being driven by customers. For example, a growing number are installing rooftop solar power systems on their homes, and San Diego has the highest number of installed residential systems of any city in California. The region is also home to the greatest number of plug-in electric vehicles in the country, and will have significant growth in the coming months and years, and the grid must be able to accommodate the power needs of these vehicles.

The EDF also is advising PG&E, and says it will use the framework to score all three utilities’ plans with equal rigor, so that the best elements are adopted and any weaknesses or gaps are remedied.

“Since these public utilities are investing millions of their ratepayers’ dollars in the smart grid and need to get so many things right, EDF developed this framework to help California’s smart grid deliver on its promises,” said Miriam Horn, director of EDF’s smart grid initiative, adding that it also identifies concrete steps these utilities can take to reach the goals.