Advanced energy technologies like solar, electric vehicles and smart appliances, which can be collectively called as the “Grid of Things” will enable the new future for energy, said Chris Johns, president, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).
Addressing a panel of energy experts at an event that discussed grid modernization for the 21st century, sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center at Capitol Hill, Johns said PG&E has embraced Grid of Things to help the grid deliver more value to customers.
The electric grid of the future is the platform that enables continued gains for clean-energy technology and the nation’s economy as a whole, he remarked.
The Grid of Things can integrate the new energy-related technologies, providing customers maximum flexibility and choice in how they use energy, and ultimately maximum value, he pointed out.
According to Johns, the latest trends in energy technologies will not bring demise to the current electricity grid; rather it will result in “democratization of the grid.”
The new energy technologies will find more value if they’re wired together through the grid, so the grid is going to be relevant and indispensable over the next 100 years as it was in the last 100 years, he explained.
Johns emphasized the fact that utilities need to seek partnerships with emerging energy sector players, focusing on federal and state policies that encourage innovation and affordability of the service.
To ensure that grid is capable of meeting the evolving needs of customers, more investments are needed in both traditional infrastructures such as wires and switches, as well as information technology, he added.
Over the years, PG&E has made investments in advanced grid technology to make it more resilient and reliable.
The company was recently ranked No.1 utility solar leader with an unbeatable 1471 MW annual installation, according to the Solar Power stats released by Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).