Reengineering Utilities with Smart Grid Technology

How these energy geeks are reimagining an old school utility

Reuters, January 27. 2015

Welcome to the utility industry’s future – or at least that’s what Southern California Edison is hoping.

Here in a non-descript, 53,500-square-foot building, the $12 billion utility’s research team is testing everything from charging electronic vehicles via cell phone to devices that smooth out the power created by rooftop solar panels.

Those are some of the roughly 60 projects in the works at Edison’s Advanced Technology division. It has a small $19 million annual budget, but its influence far exceeds that.

The engineers from California’s largest utility are hatching plans to insure its survival – and maybe even the survival of the nation’s other big utilities, which are watching the project closely.

The lab was formed by Southern California Edison in 2009 after California passed a landmark law to lower its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels – and source one third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

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