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For Immediate Release: MAY 21, 2008
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Awards $5.85 Million
To Improve State's Electricity Grid

Research to Focus on Improving Transmission Reliability

SACRAMENTO - To advance electricity technologies, the California Energy Commission today awarded $5.85 million to the University of California for a package of transmission grid improvement research. The funding will help ensure that California's electric transmission grid can handle the challenges of the 21st century while increasing renewable energy choices.

"California must develop and maintain a cost effective, reliable transmission system capable of responding to important policy challenges, including reducing global warming," said Energy Commission Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel. "By funding transmission grid research now, we can better address the energy infrastructure challenges in the future."

The proposed research is 13 research projects addressing new grid technology developments to environmental research in transmission planning to solar and wind power analysis. Specific research includes: examining how to adapt new technologies to benefit California ratepayers; identifying the greenhouse gas emissions and energy inefficiencies of electric transmission systems; integrating wind power into the state's transmission system; improving operational response times; developing technologies for controlling power flows; and developing methods for congestion planning and uncertainty forecasting.

Researchers will identify what improvements are required for California's aging electric transmission infrastructure for moving electricity generated by new renewable power facilities on the grid. By studying transmission corridor planning, researchers can help the state achieve its goals for renewable power generation and environmental policy goals.

The proposed research will develop and help commercialize advanced electricity technologies, increase the use of renewable energy resources and improve the transmission or distribution of electricity generated from renewable energy resources.

The Regents of University of California Office of the President Researchers proposed a group of projects that address transmission research needs in California such as integrating new renewable energy resources and improvements in the grid operations. These projects were evaluated and approved by the Energy Commission staff with input from the Transmission Research Program Policy Advisory Committee, which includes the California Independent System Operator and the investor-owned utilities.

A detailed breakdown of research funding is as follows.

Transmission Grid Infrastructure Research Plan $498,035
Development of SmartWire Transmission Line Impedance Control Technology $70,000
Seismic Performance of Transformer Bushings $250,002
Improved Seismic Performance of Substation Insulators $350,000
Underground Transmission Technology Solutions $173,000
Transmission System Operation Research Plan $502,474
Wide-Area Energy Storage and Management System $198,300
Oscillation Detection and Analysis $180,000
Mode Analysis for Grid Operation $360,000
Transmission Planning and Environmental Research Planning $493,577
Adaptive Relaying Technology Development $740,000
Analysis and Visualization of Operational Impacts of Wind and Solar Generation $1,400,000
Technology Transfer Activities Planning $459,986
TOTAL $5,850,866

Created by the Legislature in 1974, the California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The Energy Commission has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting renewable energy; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.

Members of the Energy Commission are Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel; Vice Chair James D. Boyd; Commissioners Jeffrey Byron; Karen Douglas; and Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld.

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