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Archive for the ‘ Smart Grid ’ Category

Funding Available for California Clean Energy Projects

In decisions reached in 2011 and 2012, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC). These decisions provide the framework for funding investments in applied research and development, technology demonstration and deployment, and market facilitation of clean energy technologies and approaches.

The EPIC Program will provide public interest investments in clean energy technologies and approaches for the benefit of electricity ratepayers of California’s three largest electric investor owned utilities – Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, and Southern California Edison Company. Funding will be collected at the rate of $162 million per year between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2020. All funds are administered under the oversight of the CPUC, with the investor owned utilities and the California Energy Commission (CEC) designated as the program administrators.

The current EPIC Investment Plan is organized by funding area. Proposed initiatives are grouped under strategic objectives. Through this plan, the CEC intends to issue solicitations in all strategic objectives.  To review the plan, you may visit:


Flux Power Adds Key Functionality to its Advanced Energy Storage Systems to Address Growing Solar and Grid Storage Market

New Product Capability Yields Opportunity to Expand Customer Base into Residential, Industrial, and Commercial Solar Energy and Storage Applications

Flux Power Holdings, Inc. an innovator in durable, scalable, and affordable advanced energy storage systems, today announced that they have enhanced their product portfolio with the addition of a standard interface for solar and grid storage applications.  This interface is able to control many industrial components such as inverters used for power management in solar and grid applications which greatly broadens the applicability and markets for their advanced energy storage solutions.

Flux Power has entered into an agreement (more…)


Cleantech Group Selects On-Ramp Wireless for the 2012 Global Cleantech 100 List

San Diego-based On-Ramp Wireless, developer of wireless solutions for energy automation, accepted a prestigious 2012 Global Cleantech 100 award last night from Cleantech Group, a leading global research and advisory firm focused on innovation in energy and the environment. The Global Cleantech 100 list, which was chosen among 8,285 applicants in 85 countries, is unique in the sector because it highlights the promise of private clean technology companies from all around the world, focusing on those companies which the players in the market feel are currently the most likely to make the most significant market impact over the next 5-10 years.

“We are honored to be recognized by this elite program again in 2012,” said Joaquin Silva, president and CEO of On-Ramp Wireless. “The On-Ramp Ultra-Link Processing network continues to prove to be a true asset to the infrastructure market worldwide, and we look forward to further improve the energy efficiency of utilities and other partners.”

For complete information on On-Ramp’s leadership within the cleantech space, access Cleantech Group’s leading market intelligence platform, i3, and search for On-Ramp at here. You can also find the full 2012 Global Cleantech 100 report with commentary and insight by Cleantech Group and sponsored by Autodesk, Deloitte, Wermuth Asset Management, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati here.

About On-Ramp Wireless

On-Ramp Wireless has developed the first wireless system purpose-built to efficiently connect billions of hard-to-reach devices in metro scale and other challenging environments. On-Ramp’s field-proven Ultra-Link Processing system enables low-power monitoring and control applications within Smart Grid, oil and gas operations, water efficiency, industrial sensing, and location tracking. Operating in unlicensed spectrum, the signal processing innovation finds weak signals even in high noise environments, yielding extreme coverage, immunity to high interference, and significantly lowers cost. For more information, visit


Smart City San Diego Collaborates to Deliver Results

With a focus on the San Diego region’s job growth, smarter technology development, solar energy storage integration and increased electric vehicle infrastructure and deployment, Smart City San Diego is delivering results. The collaborative is made up of City of San Diego, GE, UC San Diego, CleanTECH San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).  It formed to leverage each entity’s strengths to create and implement initiatives to improve the region’s energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assert San Diego as a clean energy leader.

“Over the past year, Smart City San Diego has been forward-thinking about creating opportunities for a more sustainable region,” said San Diego Mayor Sanders. “Moving into 2012, our collaborative will continue to build on those results and develop and launch even more initiatives to drive economic growth for our region.”

These results include:

Car2Go: The City of San Diego and SDG&E worked with Daimler’s Car2Go to make San Diego’s launch of its plug-in electric vehicle car sharing pilot a big success. The City continues to work with SDG&E to increase the number of public-access charging stations throughout the Car2Go targeted region. The team is working collectively to educate the community about the benefits of the pilot program and expects to increase public interest in electric vehicles and encourage the growth of the plug-in electric vehicle industry in San Diego. Data gained from Car2Go will provide information on where charging stations are most needed. Smart City San Diego also continues to work to streamline the permitting process for deploying charging stations.

Smart Appliances: SDG&E and GE are working together to test the communication links between GE’s smart appliances and SDG&E’s smart meters to ensure consumers are empowered with the best technologies to manage energy use and costs. GE’s Appliances business is supplying SDG&E with a smart dishwasher, washer and dryer along with a GE Nucleus energy manager and Programmable Control Thermostat to expedite the testing process. SDG&E’s team is currently testing the communication between these assets prior to consumer deployment.

Economic Development and Job Growth: CleanTECH San Diego – working with the City of San Diego, SDG&E, UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and its private sector member companies – is quantifying and categorizing regional clean tech companies that touch smart grid technology development. Categories include solar energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, clean transportation and other technology companies. CleanTECH San Diego has also created a baseline analysis of the direct and indirect economic impacts of the named clusters. This baseline analysis can help quantify year-over-year job growth and other economic impacts of the regional smart grid sector. This will be particularly helpful in measuring the economic impact of the over 180 solar companies and over 20 storage companies that call San Diego home.

Solar Integrated Energy Storage: UC San Diego and SDG&E have submitted a grant application to test, demonstrate and evaluate a variety of solar integrated energy storage projects over a 12 to 24 month period. If funded, this initiative will test multiple applications at multiple sites and provide analysis for the benefit of utilities, grid planners, regulators, solar inverter manufacturers, system integrators, business modelers, energy storage manufacturers and other early adopters. CleanTECH San Diego supports this initiative as part of efforts to advance the region as an Innovation Hub (IHub).  In August 2010, the California Governor’s Office of Economic Development designated the greater San Diego region as an IHub for solar energy storage.  The purpose of the IHub is to build on the region’s existing innovation infrastructure and strong culture of collaboration to accelerate the convergence of solar energy and energy storage.

Policy Leadership: In July 2010, Smart City San Diego hosted California Public Utilities Commissioner Mark Ferron for a day long briefing on San Diego’s smart grid initiatives.  The Commissioner met with industry representatives from the solar, energy efficiency, smart grid and technology sectors and toured UC San Diego’s world renowned microgrid.  The collaborative held a roundtable with the Commissioner to brief him on the vision and work of Smart City San Diego.

Solar Decathlon 2013 Finalist: The City of San Diego and UC San Diego worked with the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Committee to make San Diego one of two finalists for the location of the 2013 Solar Decathlon. The event promotes the outreach, education, and economic benefits of energy security, renewable energy and energy efficiency.  If early projections bear out, attendance at the event has the potential to be larger than the San Diego Convention Center’s highest attended conference and create a positive economic impact for the region.

Economic Development and Job Growth: GE worked with CleanTech San Diego and SDG&E to host a GE Sourcing Supplier Diversity event for the first time in San Diego.  Over 50 diverse local suppliers participated in one-on-one sessions with GE buyers to learn how best to work with GE and be considered for future projects.

“GE is proud to bring our grid modernization technology and expertise to Smart City San Diego,” said Mark Hura, global smart grid commercial Leader for GE’s Digital Energy business.  ”An efficient, reliable and sustainable electric infrastructure is essential to powering economic growth and supporting business, industry and the dynamic lifestyles of a skilled workforce.  We applaud all the successes over the past year and look forward to many more to come.”

Formed in January 2011, Smart City San Diego was charged with bringing together leading organizations from government, business, education and non-profit to maximize synergies to drive sustainability programs forward, identify new opportunities, embrace additional collaborators, and move the San Diego region beyond today’s boundaries of sustainability.  This model will be able to be duplicated in other regions.

The collaborative leverages its strengths and resources as a partnership to develop and implement local initiatives that will empower consumers, improve environmental quality, drive economic growth, and reduce the San Diego region’s reliance on oil.  The collaborative is working toward a more consumer-focused, environmentally conscious energy future by addressing San Diegan’s 21st century energy needs.

Click here for the Smart City San Diego website


VIDEO: The UC San Diego microgrid; a living laboratory

A microgrid is a localized grouping of electricity generation, energy storage, and loads that normally operate connected to a traditional centralized grid.  The microgrid at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is one of the best examples of an electricity network that provides local control yet is interconnected with the larger electricity grid.

Recently the Rocky Mountain Institute visited UCSD to study and document the microgrid that controls and integrates electricity supply and demand on the campus.  One result of their visit was a six minute video that spotlights the groundbreaking work being done on the La Jolla campus

At UCSD, the microgrid provides the ability to manage 42 megawatts of generating capacity, including a central cogeneration plant, an array of solar photovoltaic installations and a fuel cell that operates on natural gas reclaimed from a landfill site. The central microgrid control allows operators to manage the diverse portfolio of energy generation and storage resources on the campus to minimize costs. In addition, the campus can “island” from the larger grid to maintain power supply in an emergency, as in the case of the power blackout that struck parts of Southern California, Arizona and Mexico in September 2011.

The microgrid at UCSD provides a living laboratory to experiment with integration and management of local resources and to optimize the use of these resources in interaction with market signals from the larger grid.

Click here to watch the video.

Articles of Interest
Solar forecasting and microgrids
Understanding the Role of Buildings
UC San Diego is a campus-wide living laboratory for sustainable energy


Grid research by MIT is a “must read” for San Diego

The Future of the Electric Grid was published this week by the MIT Energy Initiative.  The 268 page report aims to provide a comprehensive, objective portrait of the U.S. electric grid and the challenges and opportunities it is likely to face over the next two decades.  It also highlights a number of areas in which policy changes, focused research and demonstration, and the collection and sharing of important data can facilitate meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities that the grid will face.  The report shows that with new policies, the electric grid in the United States could handle the expected influx of electric cars and wind and solar generation.

Much of the report relates directly to developments in the San Diego region.  Chapter 5 is about The Impact of Distributed Generation and Electric Vehicles.  Chapter 8: Utility Regulation touches on the current challenge in San Diego to have a rate structure for distributed generation which is equitable for all parties.

(From page 182 of the report), “The distortions caused by these implicit subsidies rise with the penetration of distributed generation and with energy conservation more generally.  Consider, for example, proposed “zero net energy” buildings: if network costs continue to be recovered on a per-kWh basis, these customers could in theory receive all the benefits of being connected to the grid, drawing and injecting power on demand, while paying little or nothing toward the cost of the system or the option to use the network.”  Of course, the opposite side of the issue is also compelling.

Click here for the complete report and here for the abstract.

The multidisciplinary effort of the MIT Energy Initiative to generate The Future of the Electric Grid included economists, engineers and, of course, graduate students from MIT and from without.  Click here for an excellent video of the introductory presentation by the study c-chairs of the report. 

The last two sections of the report include a useful Glossary plus a list of Acronyms and Abbreviations.


California dominates ranking of top cleantech companies worldwide

Cleantech companies in San Diego continue to receive global recognition as innovators.  On Wednesday Cleantech Group LLC (not to be confused with CleanTECH San Diego) announced their 2011 Global Cleantech 100.  From our region the honorees were Genomatica, On-Ramp Wireless and Synthetic Genomics.  There are 58 U.S. companies on the list with California way in front with an impressive 36.  In all, 16 countries were represented.

The rigorous selection process began with a long list of 4,274 nominated companies.  The expert panel was made up of 70 individuals drawn principally from leading cleantech investors from around the world. 

The leading cleantech sub-sector was Energy Efficiency with 19 companies.  This was followed by Solar (14), Water & Wastewater (12), Energy Storage (10) and Biofuels & Biomaterials (9). 

Click here to read the 32 page report. 


UC San Diego is a campus-wide living laboratory for sustainable energy

Last week I attended Procopio’s Environmental Breakfast Club held on the UC San Diego campus.  Under John Lormon’s direction the speakers began with some comments about the differences between smartgrid and microgridByron Washom, Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives, UC San Diego gave an update on the status of the sophisticated microgrid being built on the ever-expanding seaside campus.  Much has been accomplished with more to come.  The UC San Diego system demonstrates the advantages of an intelligent energy system designed for increased efficiency, security and sustainability.  Environmental sustainability at UC San Diego is a real-world learning experience serving the dual purposes of advancing the base of knowledge and saving the university millions of dollars in operating expenses. 

About the UCSD microgrid Forbes magazine said, “First light for what the new smart grid architecture will look like is already visible”.  It is an integral part of a much larger campus community effort.  Click to learn about Sustainability 2.0, A Living Laboratory.  Click here for Byron Washom’s presentation, Local Impact, National Influence, Global Reach

My favorite educational experience has always been show and tell.  We were treated to a tour of the campus for a first-hand look at the key components of the evolving energy system.  On the very day we were there the largest full cell on any college campus was being activated for the first time.  Manufactured by FuelCell Energy, Inc., the 2.8-megawatt fuel cell will provide about 8% of UC San Diego’s total energy needs.  In conjunction with the City of San Diego and Encinitas-based BioFuels Energy, the renewable-energy project will turn waste methane gas from the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant directly into electricity without combustion.

Directly opposite the site of the huge fuel cell are two impressively large solar arrays designed and fabricated by Soitec and installed on the campus for evaluation.  The first solar installation was a progressive step which led to San Diego Gas & Electric signing contracts with Soitec for 125 megawatts of solar power.  The second is the fifth generation of Soitec’s concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) system which will generate about five times more electricity with a fractionally larger footprint. 

The new system consists of 12 CPV modules, each generating more than 2 kW of peak power.  For this new product, Soitec has reconfigured its Concentrix modules to reduce the number of parts per CPV system, making installation in the field simpler and faster.  By leveraging the field-proven CPV cells, high concentration ratio and silicone-on-glass Fresnel lens construction used in previous generations of Concentrix products, the new system delivers the same high reliability and life expectancy.

Soitec’s two-axis-tracking CPV systems are well suited for installation sites with high direct solar radiation.  The systems produce a high, constant power output curve throughout the day and are able to match peak-load demands.

Soitec has begun shipping demonstration units to project sites.  Plans call for volume production to ramp in the first quarter of 2012 at the company’s manufacturing facility in Freiburg, Germany, and later at Soitec’s planned new factory in San Diego.

The last photo is of the partially completed, fifth generation Soitec CPV system on the UC San Diego campus as of October 12, 2011.



Shine the spotlight on nine San Diego cleantech companies

Since 1987, the CONNECT Most Innovative New Product (MIP) Awards have been San Diego’s “Oscars” for local technology innovation.  The 2011 finalists in the Clean Technology category include Genomatica for Process for High-Volume Chemicals from Renewable Feedstocks, Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation for ECOR and Wildcat Discovery Technologies for 5V Cathode (CM1) and Electrolyte (EM1).  Winners will be announced on Friday, December 9th before an audience of more than 800 of San Diego’s top executives, entrepreneurs, VCs and academics.  Click here to register for the MIP exhibition and awards luncheon. 

San Diego’s 18th Annual TechAmerica High Tech Awards finalists in the Clean Technology category include EcoATM, Hadronex, Juice Technologies and Sapphire EnergyClick here to register for the October 28th event. 

The regional cleantech cluster in San Diego continues to receive national recognition.  On Wednesday the Global Cleantech Cluster Association announced the semifinalists for the 2011 Later Stage Award competition.  This best-of-the-best recognition includes four San Diego cleantech companies, Genomatica, PowerGenix, Achates Power and EcoATM.  In another forum Sapphire Energy was honored as a “Game Changer of the Year 2011” in Clean Technology by Grow-California for their impact on California’s green industry.


Managing the integration of utility-scale renewable energy projects onto California’s electrical grid

An Escondido–based firm is utilizing its technical expertise in electrical transportation to design solutions to integrate wind and solar energy into the grid. Transportation Power, Inc. (doing business as TransPower) will receive $2 million from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to design, build, and test a new, low cost fast energy storage system known as Grid-Saver. The Grid-Saver system will ease the integration of utility-scale renewable energy projects onto the state’s electrical grid. The prototype system, with a peak capacity of five megawatts, is projected to cost about five times less than competing battery systems.  Last year TransPower was awared a $1 million competitive grant from the (CEC) for component development and manufacturing planning related to production of battery-electric trucks.

Click here for a slide deck presentation about ElecTruck and Grid-Saver.


The “Cash Back Car”: Electric vehicles to sell power from batteries back to the grid

El Cajon-based Nuvve Corporation has chosen Denmark to launch a new technology allowing electric cars to sell energy from batteries back to the grid. A solution which helps solve peak hour demand, uses excess wind energy and financially compensates the car owner.

An Electric Vehicle (EV) is typically parked 95 percent of the time. The most expensive component in the car is the battery, so why not put it to work making EVs not just environmentally but also financially appealing? That’s the idea behind Nuvve’s new V2G (Vehicle to Grid) technology; a solution having gone through 10 years of development in the US and now ready to be commercially launched in Europe with Denmark as the first test market.

Electrical car batteries as energy storage solution
An increasing amount of EVs today come with bidirectional drive trains able to both charge and discharge power into the grid. Nuvve’s innovation is a server connecting the EVs to the grid operator, a technology unmatched in the market.

The EV owner makes the battery available to Nuvve during a given period and, depending on supply and demand in the grid, the company uses the car as a short time energy storage solution in order to help regulate the power frequency of the grid. The value of providing these regulation services is very high.
Nuvve’s calculations show their business model compensating each individual EV owner $10,000 over the life of a vehicle depending on market price and owner commitment.

Danish smart grid perfect for new technology
The US company is in the process of opening a head quarter in Denmark. Nuvve will start out by hiring eight Danish employees for departments in Horsens and Copenhagen, but is planning to quickly scale up both staffing and the scope of the pilot project targeted to start in September depending on project financing.
CEO of Nuvve, Gregory Poilasne, says that one of the reasons the company chose Denmark is due to the large amount of renewable energy in the Danish grid resulting in significant power fluctuations from sources such as wind.

“As opposed to countries like Sweden and France where the power supply is fairly constant as a result of large nuclear and hydropower production, the dynamic Danish grid is an optimal choice for our technology. We offer the most economic and ecologic solution to (more…)


PHOTOS: CleanTECH San Diego’s Electric Vehicle Showcase

Last Thursday over 200 electric vehicle pioneers, early adapters and the technologically curious came together for CleanTECH San Diego’s Electric Vehicle Showcase.  (see my post of June 4th)  Here are the visuals.

The electric Tesla Roadster

Filing up with Electrons

The electric Nissan Leaf

Danny Sullivan, Holly Smithson, Byron Washom

1985 Indy 500 Winner - Danny Sullivan

CleanTECH San Diego's Electric Vehicle Showcase

The Panel




Environmental Defense Fund works with San Diego G&E on smart grid report card

SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today released a framework to critically evaluate how effective California public utilities’ plans to upgrade the state’s outdated electricity network into a digital smart grid will be at delivering environmental and consumer benefits. The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) approved a roadmap last June based on the provisions of state law SB 17.  It requires that utility smart grid investments help California meet its climate change, demand-side management and renewable energy goals.

EDF played a key role in shaping the CPUC guidelines, which the state’s three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are required to use in designing and deploying their smart grids.  With 20 million customers among them, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) are the largest utilities in California. Plans are due to the CPUC by July 1st and EDF will score them in mid-to-late July.

In addition to developing this ‘report card,’ EDF worked with SDG&E on its plan—also being released today—to ensure that, among other things, its smart grid:

  1. Empowers customers to save energy and money;
  2. Enables integration of large- and small-scale renewable energy projects to meet the state’s 33 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard and distributed generation goals; and
  3. Incentivizes electric vehicles to charge when electricity is cheaper and cleaner.

EDF also is advising PG&E and will use the framework to score all three utilities’ plans with (more…)


San Diego’s massive transportation plan: Now to 2050

On Tuesday I attended the San Diego Regional Smart Grid Working Group Stakeholder MeetingOrganized by CleanTECH San Diego, the meeting reviewed San Diego’s leadership position in integrating Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEV) into the grid.  With over 2,000 PEVs (primarily Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt) scheduled to hit San Diego streets this year alone, there is much to do to create an effective infrastructure to handle what will soon be a substantially larger base of electric transportation.  Included on the “to do” list is the construction of 1,400 non-residential PEV chargers.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there” is frequently included in the preamble of major planning projects.  Muggs Stoll of SANDAG presented an overview of San Diego’s 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).  SANDAG is the first regional planning agency in California to integrate Green House Gas (GHG) reduction targets and PEVs in its regional plan.  On Friday the SANDAG Board of Directors released the Draft 2050 RTP and its Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). The release of the Draft 2050 RTP begins the public comment period which will extend through June 30, 2011.

Click to link to the 2050 Regional Transportation PlanIt is a hefty 313 pages and over 50 mb if you download the PDF as one file.  SANDAG has created a three-minute video entitled “Our Region. Our Future.” about the 2050 RTP.


Electric Power Drama

By GUEST AUTHOR Mariana Gerzanych CEO |  350Green

MG background picElectricity providers and consumers have had a good marriage since the 1800s, small breakdowns here and there, sometimes scandals, regulation and deregulation but overall it’s been even keeled. That is until consumers decided they want more, demanding more electricity for their new toys: Electric Cars. Utilities ignored the whim for a decade but are starting to take notice. A study of EV impact on (more…)


Energy Storage is the new plastics

The Graduate.  It’s 1967 and Ben Braddock gets career advice.

graduate-plasticsMr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you.  Just one word.

Benjamin: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Benjamin: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?

Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

Dustin Hoffman as Ben spent the rest of the movie being distracted by the archetypical cougar and never got around to seeking gainful employment.  A current-day sequel would find a 65 year-old Ben advising his grandson to seek his fame and fortune in the ripe opportunity of energy storage. 

The certainty of long-term expansion of energy storage as an industry segment is driven by huge needs which exist on both the supply and demand side of the equation.  Giant utility companies are mandated to dramatically increase the production of electrical power from alternative sources of energy.  The two largest sources, solar and wind, share the problem of intermittency.  Unlike coal and natural gas generated power, solar and wind have an uneven output which is to varying degrees challenging to forecast.  Until recently this was of manageable consequence for most utilities because wind and solar were a small percentage of their total input.  But what happens when these uneven sources move towards 20% as mandated in California?  For many utilities the peaks of need are satisfied by natural gas “peaker plants” which are fired up to meet demand on the electric grid.  During periods of low demand wind turbines can be idled to avoid excess power into the grid.  Both of these alternatives underutilize the production capacity of the capital equipment.  With efficient energy storage a higher portion of power produced can be utilized and production capacity can be designed to more closely approximate average demand rather than peak demand.  Just these two important needs present a life-time of opportunity for the development of energy storage. 

Ben Braddock’s grandson will also find a target rich environment of opportunities for energy storage on the demand side of electrical consumption.  As smart grids are installed, electrical utilities will be able to flatten out consumption using technology to influence consumption behaviors via pricing and information.  The Nissan Leaf automobile in our garages will be used as a reserve of electrical power to be sold back to the utility.  Excess electricity from PV solar panels on the roofs of our homes will flow into energy storage for future use or to sell into the grid.  Energy storage systems in cars, homes, businesses, substations and in the field become a stabilizing buffer to smooth out the variations of both production and consumption.  It’s a business proposition as compelling as plastics were 43 years ago.

Energy storage systems are as big as Lake Meade and as small as a AAA battery.  Included are:

Pumped-storage hydroelectricity
Superconducting magnetic energy storage
Flow batteries
Conventional batteries (e.g. rechargeable electricity storage system)
Gas holder
Grid energy storage
Fuel cell and hydrogen technology
Gravitational mass
Capacitors (e.g. rechargeable electricity storage system)
Electromagnetic mass
Thermal energy storage
Solar chimney
Compressed fluids (e.g. compressed air)
Vacuum storage (in rush generation technology)

CleanTECH San Diego’s database of cleantech companies lists nine companies in the energy storage sector.  Sempra has stated their interest in compressed air as a large capacity energy storage system for wind and solar.  San Diego is one of only five cities in the U.S. selected to participate in the EV Project.  1000 Nissan Leaf automobiles owned by San Diego business and individuals will be driven and monitored in the best possible test lab, the real world.  Maxwell Technologies is a leading producer of ultracapacitors and power systems for consumer and industrial electronics, transportation, telecommunications, and electricity generation industries.

The wealth of opportunity in energy storage which young Ben Braddock III faces is supported by a simple but enormous truth.  The amount of electricity produced by any utility is substantially greater than what is ultimately consumed.  Some is lost in transmission.  A greater amount is wasted because of the mismatch in time of supply and demand.  Energy storage addresses the mismatch.  As the cost of electricity escalates the economic advantage of “waste not” becomes more compelling.

There are frequent meetings in San Diego about smart grid, smart meters, energy storage, etc.  On April 22nd the San Diego EDC and CleanTECH San Diego will present, Earth Day Brilliance Found in Smart Meter Opportunities.  Click here for details.


Seeking the approval of preteen-technorati

My parents never sought my approval as a child.  That was not part of their generation’s mission statement.  Nor did they seek my opinion. That I might have some input on what we were going to eat or when was not a consideration let alone my thoughts on the selection of a family car.  My friends and I never had any expectation that our parents sought our approval in their decisions.  That things are different today is obvious, although not inherently good or bad.

Excesses which result from elevated attitudes of entitlement are all around us.  There are also significant positive behavioral changes which emanate from the parental quest for approval.  The emotional hook of an 8 year old girl crawling into her father’s lap and saying “Daddy, I don’t want you to die” has had a broader and deeper impact on smoking than even the American Lung Association could have ever hoped.  Second graders have assumed the role of family recycling czars and energy efficiency auditors.  Last year I purchased a couple of cases of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) to distribute to my co-workers.  Angie, my assistant, said her daughter had been bugging her for weeks to change the lights in their house to CFLs.  Another approval problem solved.

How can we ramp-up constructive opportunities to build upon this approval seeking phenomenon?  Are there viable strategies appropriate for business to embrace?  At the CleanTECH San Diego Showcase this week (see post below) the wide-ranging discussion on Smart Grid included some comments by the presenters about their children.  Lee Krevat of SDG&E described telling his 13 year old that perhaps the all electric Nissan Leaf would be a good choice for the family.  After doing her internet research his daughter expressed her approval and (more…)


Smart Grid is focus of first CleanTECH San Diego Showcase

Kleiner Perkins logoThe inaugural CleanTECH San Diego Showcase presents Smart Grid, Transforming the Energy Industry this Thursday November 12th at the La Jolla Marriott. Keynote speaker, Ellen Pao, is a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the preeminent player in the venture capital universe.  Kleiner Perkins’ successes include, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Google, Intuit, Lotus Development, Netscape, Segway, Sun Microsystems and scores of other ventures over a 37 year history.  A year ago the firm’s $500 million Green Growth Fund committed $75 million to smart grid start-up Silver Spring Networks.  Following Ms. Pao’s remarks will be a panel discussion by the CEO’s of three venture-funded clean tech companies, Aptera, Applied Solar and PCN Technology.  Each of these San Diego-based companies is (more…)


San Diego Gas & Electric scores $28.1 million DOE stimulus for smart grid

San Diego Gas & Electric was one of one hundred recipients announced today to receive a smart grid investment grant from the Department of Energy.  Three hundred other applicants were not as fortunate.  SDG&E will provide matching funds of over $32 million for their GridComm wireless smart grid project.  Click here to see their grant application.  Last month SDG&E announced a major Smart Grid coalition formed with CleanTECH San Diego, UC San Diego and two dozen other entities including tech giants Qualcomm, GE, IBM, Intel, Cisco, and a local rising star, On-Ramp Wireless.

The good news has many layers.  The DOE funds will accelerate a project which SDG&E has (more…)


A SCRUB for clean tech


This morning I participated in the latest CleanTECH San Diego SCRUB session.  SCRUB is an opportunity for early stage clean tech companies to present their business story to a group of CleanTECH San Diego members.  Three local emerging clean tech ventures made their case this morning to a panel of 28 CleanTECH San Diego members representing a mix of venture capitalists, engineers, marketing specialists, intellectual property attorneys as well as local leaders from industry, research and government.  The objective of SCRUB is to provide immediate feedback and assistance to take each company to the next stage. 

Today’s SCRUB showcased three distinctly different clean tech businesses.  Marine Power Partners has developed a patent pending waterwheel that generates continuous base-load electricity from flowing water at lower capital and operating costs than either solar or wind systems.  A Smart Grid innovator, On-Ramp Wireless, is a systems provider for low-power wide-area scalable sensor networking and location tracking.  New Leaf Biofuel collects waste cooking oil (more…)


A high IQ Grid for San Diego

Today I attended a media event held to announce a major Smart Grid coalition formed by San Diego Gas & Electric with CleanTECH San Diego, UC San Diego and two dozen other entities including tech giants Qualcomm, IBM, Intel, Cisco, and a local rising star, On-Ramp Wireless.  The San Diego coalition is seeking $100 million of federal stimulus funds for smart grid development to benefit the region and to serve as a prototype project for the rest of the world to model.

In August, SDG&E’s parent, Sempra Energy, was recognized by IDC Energy Insights and Intelligent Utility magazine as the #1 “intelligent utility” in the nation in recognition of their work to move their customer base to smart meters. 

General Electric, a member of the coalition, launched “It’s Your Smart Grid”, an interactive educational website.  It is extremely well done.  We need the same for all other categories of clean technology.   Check out “It’s Your Smart Grid”.