SoCal wins $125 million for smart grid and energy storage


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Two Southern California utilities were awarded more than $125 million in stimulus funds from the Department of Energy today to demonstrate “smart” electric grid systems and test energy storage projects.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power received $60,280,000 and Southern California Edison Co. received $40,134,700 to test out and collect data on smart grid programs.

SoCal Edison was also given $24,978,264 for its Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage Project, using an 8-megawatt lithium ion battery technology.


In a statement, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hailed the grants, saying they would ‘help modernize the state’s electricity infrastructure to make delivery methods more efficient,’ as well as save energy costs for consumers and create jobs.

Several Northern California projects in Alameda, Berkeley, Fremont and San Francisco also picked up energy storage grants, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in a statement today.

In all, California systems were awarded nearly $175 million, part of the $620 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act given to 32 projects across the country dealing with large-scale energy storage, smart meters, electricity distribution issues and a range of technologies.

A group of 16 awards totaling $435 million went to smart grid programs run through 50 utilities and companies in 21 states. Another 16 grants for $185 million were given to utility-scale energy storage projects, which could help integrate renewable energy options such as wind and solar into the mainstream electricity network.

The projects could create thousands of jobs, including for manufacturing workers, engineers, electricians, equipment installers, IT system designers, cyber-security specialists and analysts, Chu said.

-- Tiffany Hsu