(The following press release from the California Public Utilities
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Docket #: A.11-07-008
CPUC APPROVES RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PLAN TO BRING INNOVATION AND SAVINGS TO
SAN FRANCISCO, December 20, 2012 - The California Public Utilities Commission
(CPUC) today approved a research and development plan that is expected to
result in more than $552 million in consumer savings by 2020 due to
advancements in energy transmission, reliability, and safety.
The CPUC authorized Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern
California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to enter into a
five-year research and development agreement, known as 21st Century Energy
Systems, with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL).
The expected research benefits of this project include more than $552 million
in savings by 2020 from improved resource planning related to the integration
of renewables into the grid, potential substantial savings over the next five
years from improvements in natural gas operations, improved safety and
reliability from enhanced capabilities to model electricity and gas flows, and
improvements in cyber security as utilities learn directly from LLNL how to
deal with evolving and persistent cyber threats.
In addition, the supercomputing capabilities of LLNL will enable the processing
of the three terabytes of data that Smart Meters will produce daily.
Supercomputing capabilities, for example, will enable LLNL to model grid
operations in a disaggregated and refined way that will allow the companies to
see where investments are needed to maintain service and to avoid investments
not needed, thereby producing better service and ratepayer savings. The
expected economic benefits alone dwarf the $150 million in project costs over
its five-year life (PG&E will pay 55 percent, SCE 35 percent, and SDG&E 10
"This project will benefit utility customers in many ways," said CPUC President
Michael R. Peevey. "Research findings are likely to improve the safety of gas
operations by reducing the amount of pressure needed in transmission pipes in
order to maintain distribution flows, and also by improving leak detection and
predicting pipe breaks. Further, the project is very likely to provide benefits
to ratepayers that exceed costs across both electric and gas operations by
avoiding unnecessary purchases of power support services and by identifying
with precision places where more grid investment is needed."
Said Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon, "LLNL supercomputers are capable of
modeling grid operations and of processing terabytes of Smart Meter data that
electricity grid planners and operators need if we are ever to respond
effectively to the serious cyber challenges that threaten the economic and
national security of our state and nation."
Research is restricted to four promising areas: Gas Operations, Electric
Operations, Electric Resource Planning, and cyber security. Total yearly
expenditures cannot exceed $30 million and total expenditures cannot exceed
$150 million. All research projects must meet the specific criteria showing
ratepayer benefits, and the CPUC will determine funding for projects annually
following a public workshop.
Added Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval, "Our decision articulates the
state's policy of promoting joint research by investor-owned electric utilities
to protect cyber security, analyze needs for integration of renewable energy,
and promote safe operation of the gas transmission and distribution system. The
decision adopts a process that provides active state supervision to ensure
accountability, public participation, and state oversight of the project
proposals. In consultation with Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, the
collaborative will propose research projects and methodologies, consider a
range of competitive resources to carry out the projects, conduct a public
workshop regarding the project proposals before submitting an Advice Letter to
the full CPUC, and submit the proposals to the full CPUC for its review and
consideration. This process ensures strong ongoing state oversight, provides
needed transparency in the public vetting of proposals, and will yield
science-based analysis to support the CPUC's mission to ensure that
Californians have safe, reliable utility service at just and reasonable rates."
The proposal voted on today is available at
For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov
Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, firstname.lastname@example.org
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