California Electricity Sector Projects
In California, three main companies have managed the main smart grid or non-wires alternatives projects. They are San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E). SDG&E is working on a Demand Response Management System (DRMS), SCE is working on circuit automation, and SDG&E has three projects underway, including Smart AC, electric vehicle infrastructure, and time-varying pricing rates.
CALIFORNIA SMART GRID PROJECTS
SAN DIEGO GAS & ELECTRIC (SDG&E) PROJECTS
Project 1: Demand Response Management System (DRMS)
- This aim of this smart grid project was to make it possible to integrate the whole management of SDG&E's complete demand response catalog.
- The project would enable the management of devices and the program, but also the ability to forecast, settle, and perform analysis and reporting functions. It would allow integrated capabilities for enrollment, eligibility, and workflow.
- The first phase focused on implementing the needed tools to support the company's (SDG&E) capacity bidding program. It also gave customers the ability to connect communication devices to their smart meters, thus being able to receive price data in these devices.
- The second phase provides the possibility of demand response post-event capabilities to settle, and business reporting abilities.
- A third phase will build on the two previous phases to make available functionalities that will make it possible to deliver demand response schemes in a unified architecture.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON (SCE) PROJECTS
Project 2: Circuit Automation
- The aim of this project was to be able to restore power remotely or even automatically to customers after the network suffers outages that have been the result of faults.
- This smart system would then be able to reduce the negative impacts on customers.
- SCE installed 133 remote control switches to make this system work during 2017, for a cost of $3,860,000.
- The main advantage of this smart grid project is to reduce the time without power.
- The system has cost $13,675,309 to implement.
PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC COMPANY (PG&E)
Project 3: Smart AC
- This project initially called SmartAC relied on the deployment of 250,000 1-way communication load control devices for air conditioners since the start of the program in 2007.
- In 2017-2018, the program cost $7.2 million to implement, including costs tied to marketing, administration, and products.
- The technology used in the project has evolved and the new devices allow for 2-way communication through smart meters.
- This allows the company PG&E, in case of a high demand or electricity shortage, to have control over the AC and reduce its capacity through the load control devices, in order to avoid network outages.
- There is an incentive of $50 and free technical support for customers who enroll in the program.
- The benefits of the program are that PG&E has the ability to check and monitor the electrical consumption of an air conditioner in real time and detect potential malfunctions thanks to the 2-way system.
Project 4: Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
- This project cost $12 million to implement during 2017-2018 and is an electric vehicle charge network scheme.
- It is a pilot project with a duration of 3 years with the aim of installing and making available 7,500 charging ports for electric vehicles.
- The aim is to fit workplaces and residential buildings with these charging ports, that can then be the property of the site or the PG&E company.
- The focus is to make them available in deprived communities.
- For chargers that will belong to the sites, PG&E will be flexible with cost and ways to pay.
- It is planned that the total cost of the scheme does not exceed $130 million.
- PG&E offers to contribute up to $100,000 per site to install EV chargers.
- The benefits of the project include cleaner air, a lower cost for EV charging infrastructure, happier residents because they have access to EV chargers, a reduction in greenhouse gases from fewer polluting fuel cars, and leadership by example.
- The chargers will be maintained by PG&E for ten years.
- The scheme started in January 2018 and 256 applicants were sent in the first 6 months. Out of these applications, 56 were approved by June 2018 and 3 completed construction and were operational.
- The program will carry on in 2019 and 2020.
Project 5: Time-Varying Pricing (TVP) Rates
- This project, with an estimated cost of $7.2 million in 2017-2018, will allow the use of Smart Meter functionalities and capacities installed in PG&E customers' homes to charge different electricity rates depending on the load of the network.
- This would allow better regulation of the network, reducing the differential between wholesale and retail electricity price and encouraging customers to reduce their bill by consuming less because it is cheaper to do so.
- Using this system can allow a reduction of 25-40 MW during peak times such as the hottest days of the year, which is equivalent to the load of two power stations.
- The benefits are shared between customers and society as a whole because of fewer risks of outages.
- The project started in 2012 and had 113,000 residential clients enrolled as of July 2018 and has recorded a load reduction averaging 20-25 MW during the peak demand days.
- Rates are split according to season and times, with three rates in the summer and two in the winter.