Selected tag(s): SDG&E

Plugging Away – San Diego’s Plan to “Charge” Toward a Cleaner Grid

Source: Flickr/Kazuhisa OTSUBOWe love electric vehicles (EVs) in California and we want that love to spread. Why? It isn’t because of the cool factor – though, believe me, EVs like the Tesla are undoubtedly cool. Instead, it’s because these cars can offer significant benefits to the environment, electric grid, and economy.

California policymakers feel the love: in March 2012, Governor Brown signed an Executive Order that put an ambitious – and important – goal in place to provide the infrastructure for up to 1 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), which includes fuel cell powered vehicles along with plug-in hybrid and battery EVs, by 2020 and put 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025.

Here are some of the potential benefits of electric vehicles:

  • Reduce harmful pollution. Because EVs don’t produce any emissions from the tailpipe when they are drawing on energy from their battery – unlike traditional gasoline-powered vehicles – they can greatly reduce the amount of harmful pollution from which California suffers. Targeting tailpipe emissions, the largest contributor to dangerous emissions, will help the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets and reduce harmful pollutants that are causing elevated levels of smog.
  • Integrate more renewable energy. By charging at times when renewable energy is abundant (i.e., during the day to take advantage of solar and late at night to soak up wind power), EVs can enable the grid to handle more clean energy resources while still maintaining reliability.
  • Avoid increasing use of fossil fuel resources. Because solar power becomes unavailable when the sun goes down, the grid sees a steep increase in the use of fossil fuel-powered energy before sunrise and after sunset. If EVs charge during the day and then draw upon that stored energy when renewable energy is unavailable it will reduce the need for fossil-fueled generators to provide energy during these times of the day.
  • Avoid costs to utilities and residents. Capitalizing on the ability of EVs to integrate more renewables onto the grid can offset the need for additional, expensive transmission and distribution infrastructure as energy needs increase over time. In addition, EVs present an attractive financial proposition – by reducing or eliminating the amount that drivers spend at the gas pump, those who purchase an EV can recover the upfront cost of the car in a matter of years.

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Posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles| Tagged | Read 5 Responses

San Diego's New "Smart Energy Community"

This commentary was originally posted on the EDF California Dream 2.0 Blog.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E) and Sudberry Properties have announced plans to incorporate breakthrough smart grid technology in the construction of Civita, the new master-planned development in Mission Valley, California. With a focus on sustainability and energy-efficiency, the “smart energy community“ will be home to vehicle charging stations, solar and fuel cell electricity, battery storage and energy management tools for residents.

"The Civita project is consistent with what we are trying to achieve here in San Diego," said Mayor Jerry Sanders. "By integrating solar power, clean transportation and energy efficiency into the very foundations of our homes and businesses, we can help preserve the environment while strengthening our community overall."

With plans to build nearly 5,000 homes and around a million square feet of office properties, apartment living, public parks, and a civic center over a once 230 acre gravel quarry, Civita could become one of the first communities in the nation to be “fully upgraded with smart grid technology and stand at the forefront of the broader transformation of the electric grid the community.” Civita aims to surpass current California energy efficiency standards by at least 15 percent by using energy star appliances, highly efficient residential lighting and onsite power sources, and by allowing some buildings and areas within community to operate independently of the grid.

Posted in California, Smart Grid| Also tagged , | Read 2 Responses
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    EDF Energy Exchange - Accelerating the clean energy revolution

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