The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has been awarded a $60 million grant from the Department of Energy to develop and test advanced smart grid technologies in partnership with a consortium of top Southern California research institutes including UCLA, USC and Caltech/Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

LADWP’s Smart Grid Program is designed to fully integrate and automate LADWP’s vast power system, from customer meters to its largest power plants. The program dovetails with the utility’s long-term goals 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.

At UCLA Engineering, the Wireless Internet SmartGrid or WINSmartGrid, is a project where researchers are exploring several areas of smart grid technology development that will be part of DWP’s program. The project is being led by Rajit Gadh, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

One key research area includes the use of demand response – or the ability of consumers to modify their energy consumption based on inputs such as real-time price information. WINSmartGrid technology will also allow test-bed facilities to react to demand response events such as price changes or changes in the number of people within a facility.

The second key area of research will involve the integration of electric vehicles into a wireless infrastructure also using the WINSmartGrid technology to better control the charging of the vehicles. Smart sensor-enabled RFIDs would also be used for location, time-tracking and energy monitoring.

Several UCLA faculty and staff bring expertise in the area of novel wired and wireless communication networks for open, scalable Smart Grid communications and technology architectures.

The UCLA campus as a test bed location, provides research laboratories, classrooms and administrative facilities, student and faculty housing, the UCLA hospital and a cogeneration power plant that supplies heat and electricity to the more than 25 million square feet of office space.

For more information on WINSmartGrid, please visit the project’s home page. http://winmec.ucla.edu/smartgrid/