Smart Grid Research in Los Angeles

By March 27, 2013 No Comments

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has teamed up with USC, UCLA and JPL on a five year Los Angeles Smart Grid Regional Demonstration Program.  This is a $120 million project funded jointly by the LADWP and a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant.  LADWP is one of only 16 organizations to receive one of these highly competitive DOE grants.  The LADWP’s Smart Grid Program is designed to fully integrate and automate LADWP’s huge power system, from customer meters to its largest power plants.  The program is a vital component in allowing the LADWP to move forward with its long-term goal to boost renewable energy and energy efficiency, reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power generators, and improve power system infrastructure and reliability with smart technology.

The USC Smart Grid Project team is working to forecast and curtail power consumption by LADWP electric customers, in real time and on-demand, through large-scale information processing that takes into account consumer behavior. The USC Smart Grid Team is working to develop scalable software frameworks, novel algorithms, and the application of state of the art information technology techniques to this emerging area.

At UCLA’s WINSmartGrid™ project, researchers are exploring several areas of smart grid technology development that will be part of the LADWP program.  One important area of research includes the use of demand response, which is the ability of consumers to modify their energy consumption based on real-time price information.  A second area of research involves the integration of electric vehicles into a wireless infrastructure also using WINSmartGrid™ technology to better control the charging of vehicles.

JPL and Caltech will apply their extensive expertise in climate change science, remote sensing, environmental engineering and systems design to assist the city and the DWP in developing, maturing and deploying innovative technologies to improve energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energy sources, conserve water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Project Description

The goal is to develop new Smart Grid technologies, quantify costs and benefits , validate new models, and create prototypes to be adopted nationally.  The project consists of four broad initiatives: 1)  Demand response technologies 2) Electric vehicle integration into the LADWP grid, 3) Surveys of customer behavior related to the impact of Smart Grid communications systems and processes on power usage, and 4) Next-generation cybersecurity.

The duration of the project is January 2010 through June 2015.  The total budget for the project is $120,560,000 with the costs even split between the DOE and the LADWP.


  • Decrease consumer electric costs
  • Decrease power interruption costs
  • Reduction in peak power loads
  • Improve grid resilience against cyber-attach and system integrity