R&D Reaps Millions of Dollars in Savings and Benefits for California Ratepayers

The return on investment for an $11.4 million California Energy Commission research and development grant is looking good – really good.

A new report by the Energy Commission’s research and development program found that investing in research for synchrophasors will save Californians up to $360 million in avoided customer outages costs because of the increased reliability in the electricity delivery system. There is also another $90 million a year in economic benefits.

Synchrophasor applications monitor stresses to the electric power grid. They provide information to grid operators enabling automatic feedback and system corrections. Synchrophasors will decrease the risk of major power outages.

Synchrophasor data will help anticipate when power lines are congested and permit real-time pricing that encourages customers to use less electricity when lines are congested and more when lines have unused capacity. Synchrophasors can also be used to provide operators with a more accurate view of renewable energy generation and help avoid instability when renewable energy is high and demand is low.

The research report found the increased use of existing wind generation could save ratepayers an estimated $25 million to $150 million a year in lower electricity rates.

About a quarter of the anticipated benefits are achieved by helping grid operators use renewable resources and transmission equipment more reliably and efficiently. Synchrophasor research can help California achieve the 2030 goals to increase the electricity derived from renewable resources to 50 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels.

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Research & Development

California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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