For Immediate Release: October 18, 2023

SMUD announces $50 million grant to support advanced smart grid technologies

Today, SMUD announced it’s been awarded a $50 million grant from the Department of Energy Grid Deployment Office’s Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership program (GRIP) for new technologies to increase reliability, efficiency and flexibility of the electric grid.

SMUD’s Connected Clean PowerCity® project includes a cost share of $100 million and encompasses a number of technology-enhancing projects that accelerate renewable integration of the following components over the next 5 years:

  • Grid-Edge Intelligence: Deploy up to 200,000 next generation smart meters and Distributed Intelligence applications to enable advanced DI at the grid-edge.
  • Advanced Distribution Management Systems: Deploy Advanced Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) features with centralized artificial intelligence and integrate Distributed Energy Resources (DERS) to support the transition from a one-way centralized distribution system to a two-way decentralized system. Deploy up to 100 miles of fiber optic cable to facilitate deployment and improve DERMS situational awareness, control and data quality.
  • Outage Management System (OMS) Modernization: Implement a new OMS with advanced features to enable operational efficiencies and better customer experience through improved communication, grid automation and modernization.
  • Enabling Technologies: Deploy up to 22,500 intelligent, 2-way load control switches/sensors to cycle air conditioning load on/off during grid emergencies. Deliver 5/15 minute interval data availability for commercial/residential customers.

In collaboration with the Wilton Rancheria Tribe of Miwok Indians, SMUD will work with the Tribe to holistically evaluate building electrification opportunities and the integration of solar, storage and electrification on Tribal lands into the regional grid.

When we set our ambitious goal to reach zero carbon emissions by 2030, I said that we couldn’t do it alone. I said that we would rely on partnerships and grants to ensure that we could scale new and emerging technologies, while keeping our rates low,” said SMUD CEO & General Manager Paul Lau. “This partnership is the perfect example of how we can work together toward a renewable and resilient grid that supports a decarbonized future. I’m proud that we’re continuing to demonstrate our thought leadership in grid modernization.” 

The 5-year project will start with new smart meter technology for 200,000 homes. Main construction and implementation of the first phase will happen within the first two years, and then the projects will roll-out in a phased approach in accordance with DOE contract specifications.

Here in Sacramento, SMUD is a community pillar whose industry-leading work is accelerating our progress towards a clean energy future. That’s why I have been such a strong, long-time advocate for bold federal investments in their innovative programs,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “In the face of extreme weather and a worsening climate crisis, this $50 million dollar grant will allow SMUD to leverage new technology and create a smarter, more resilient grid. I am particularly pleased to see the partnership between SMUD, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Wilton Rancheria, empowering our tribal communities to lead the energy transition. Together, we can deliver reliable, affordable power to our region for years to come.”

Thanks to the funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, our region will be able to continue making huge steps in grid modernization and work towards a zero-carbon economy,” said U.S. Representative Ami Bera. “With the increasing impact of climate change and severe weather events, we are building a Sacramento County that is more resilient and better equipped for the future.”

The framework of advanced technologies will enhance the capability of our meters and allow for better and increased integration to the grid. The two-way technologies will enable SMUD to precisely manage resources during severe weather events to enhance reliable electric service. SMUD will work with Itron, Open Systems International, Inc. as a technical partner to help accelerate the integration.

About SMUD 

As the nation’s sixth-largest, community-owned, not-for-profit electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity to Sacramento County for more than 75 years. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power supply is on average about 50 percent carbon free and SMUD has a goal to reach zero carbon in its electricity supply by 2030.