Posted on May 18, 2017

PG&E Projects Foretell Smarter Grid with Renewable Energy

By Paul Doherty

For more proof that PG&E is truly a next generation energy company, look no further than the projects outlined in its recent Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Investment Plan application.

PG&E’s ambitious EPIC 3 Investment Plan application, which was filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in April, requests approval of more than 40 technology demonstration and deployment projects. The projects include battery storage, electric vehicles, grid modernization, prescriptive and predictive analytics and more.

Scott Wilson, of Green Charge, removes wrap from a newly-installed energy storage unit as a part of a San Jose demonstration for PG&E’s EPIC program. (Photo by Paul Doherty.)

EPIC is a statewide, customer-funded program that allows California’s investor owned utilities (PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric) and the California Energy Commission to invest in and pursue emerging energy solutions that help meet California’s energy goals and advance industry innovation.

EPIC’s focus is to demonstrate pre-commercial or not yet widely commercialized strategies and technologies in the utility environment and then guide the most promising toward broader deployment strategy for the benefit of electricity customers.

“The EPIC program plays a vital role in helping drive the innovation needed to meet California’s policy and clean energy goals while also ensuring the safe, reliable, and affordable operation of the grid,” said PG&E’s Kevin Dasso, vice president, electric asset management.

The projects outlined in PG&E’s EPIC 3 application — the company’s third filing — include areas such as advanced integration of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), automated drone fleet management and applied data science for better decision making, among others.

PG&E’s proposed projects focus on:

  • Demonstrating technologies that further enable the growth of DERs and improve how the company safely leverages both utility-owned and customer-owned DERs as grid resources.
  • Enabling customer choice, including exploring growth at the “grid edge” and increased electric vehicle and energy storage adoption.
  • Improving capabilities to be more proactive in detecting outages and optimizing the utilization of existing assets to improve customer experience and potentially reduce customer costs.
  • Positioning PG&E customers for the future evolving grid through advanced cybersecurity and metering approaches.
  • Leveraging technology to reduce customer costs through drones and grid analytics-based solutions.

“For the benefit of our customers, we’ve gained tremendous insight around grid modernization and optimization, DER integration, and customer enablement through the EPIC program. We look forward to continuing that success in the years to come through EPIC 3,” added Dasso.

Between 2014 and 2016 PG&E completed 15 EPIC 1 projects, as noted in its 2016 EPIC Annual Report, and it is currently executing 17 EPIC 2 projects. While the CPUC won’t make decision on PG&E’s proposed EPIC 3 projects until later this year at the earliest, PG&E continues on its journey to build a smarter and more resilient energy infrastructure, ensure long term sustainability of the electric grid, and meet evolving and unique customer needs.

For more information about PG&E’s EPIC projects visit www.pge.com/epic.

Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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