EPIC projects use innovative technology to enhance areas tied to PG&E's core values of providing safe, reliable and affordable energy for our customers. The reports below document all of our completed EPIC projects and provide a summary of the objectives, scope of work, results, technology transfer plan and alignment to the EPIC principles and metrics. Additional reports are added as they are completed, and information about the progress of each active project can be found in the latest PG&E EPIC Annual Report
EPIC 1.01 - Energy Storage End Uses
This project successfully utilized PG&E's Vaca-Dixon and Yerba Buena Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESSs) to gain experience and data by participating in CAISO's Non-Generator Resource (NGR) market model. PG&E developed and deployed an automated communications and control solution to fully utilize and evaluate BESS fast-response functionalities.
EPIC 1.02 - Demonstrate Use of Distributed Energy Storage for Transmission and Distribution Cost Reduction
This project demonstrated the ability of a utility-owned and controlled energy storage resource to deliver autonomous distribution peak shaving functionality. Energy storage resources hold significant promise to help California address a variety of grid planning and operations challenges, both today and in the future, and can be used to provide more reliable and clean power to customers for lower overall costs. The learnings from this project can help inform utility procurement and operation of future energy storage resources, both utility-owned and utility-contracted, through compliance with the IOU energy procurement targets as set forth in CPUC D. 10-03-040 and beyond.
EPIC 1.05 - Demonstrate New Resource Forecast Methods to Better Predict Variable Resource Output
This project successfully developed and demonstrated a new mesoscale meteorological model to provide more granular and accurate weather forecasting input to PG&E's storm damage prediction model and to other PG&E forecasting applications, such as catastrophic wildfire risk, large storms and photovoltaic (PV) generation. This model has improved the accuracy of forecasting for large storms, allowing for increased efficiencies in storm preparation, as well as enhanced the accuracy of identifying fire risks, helping enable improved reliability and safety. Finally, leveraging granular solar irradiance data in a new framework has improved PG&E's ability to understand the impacts of PV generation for grid management.
EPIC 1.08 - Distribution System Safety and Reliability through New Data Analytics Techniques
This project demonstrates a visualization and decision support system to support PG&E's risk management efforts to enhance public and system safety, as well as improve asset management strategies and investment plans.
EPIC 1.09A - Test New Remote Monitoring and Control Systems for Existing Transmission & Distribution Assets: Close Proximity Switching
This project focused on increasing system reliability and improving the safe operation of three-phase Load Break Oil Rotary switches, which are used for making or breaking the path in an electrical circuit. In both a lab and field setting, this project successfully demonstrated and evaluated various robotics that would allow PG&E workers to more safely operate certain subsurface or underground (UG) oil switches.
EPIC 1.09B/10B - Test New Remote Monitoring and Control Systems for T&D Assets / Demonstrate New Strategies and Technologies to Improve the Efficacy of Existing Maintenance and Replacement Programs
This project successfully demonstrated methods of evaluating and potentially extending the longevity, resiliency and data integrity of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) condition-monitoring components over time. The overall strength of the monitoring and communication systems currently installed across the distribution network was confirmed and methods for improving the life and data integrity of its components were demonstrated. Real-time condition monitoring of this system provides a key input to support proactive mitigation of equipment-related issues.
EPIC 1.09C - Test New Remote Monitoring and Control Systems for T&D Assets
This project successfully demonstrated a new technology deployed directly onto transmission conductors to detect potential overloads and increase line impedance to shift this load to parallel facilities. These devices can potentially enable optimization of line flows, mitigation of overloads, and delay of costly new transmission line or reconductoring projects.
EPIC 1.14 – Next Generation SmartMeter™ Telecom Network Functionalities
This project evaluated the radio mesh telecommunications network that connects SmartMeter™ devices across PG&E's territory, including demonstration of new potential use cases for that network. The project created a methodology to determine available bandwidth, tested a variety of smart grid devices to demonstrate their potential to leverage the network for communications, and demonstrated potential enhancements to the existing outage reporting capabilities of SmartMeter™ devices.
EPIC 1.15 - Grid Operations Situational Intelligence (GOSI)
This project demonstrated a technology platform to visualize grid operations data to improve both real-time and short-term operational decisions, such as outage anticipation, construction planning, circuit loading research, and emergency operations. The project developed key data, system, and user experience learnings through integrating more than 20 data sources into a single visualization tool allowing users to view complex data sources in ways that were not possible through current solutions. This project formed the foundational learnings which will allow PG&E to potentially explore other complex situational awareness tools and applications to allow users to target information to help manage changes on the grid.
EPIC 1.16 - Demonstrate Electric Vehicle as a Resource to Improve Grid Power Quality and Reduce Customer Outages
This project successfully developed and demonstrated a new Vehicle On-Site Grid Support System (VOGSS), for utility-grade power export from Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) fleet trucks. This new technology enables a source of mobile power that can connect directly to distribution circuits, minimizing the impact of an outage for common preventative maintenance tasks such as transformer replacements. Additionally, VOGSS can provide power to facilities in emergency events, maintaining or quickly restoring service to customers.
EPIC 1.18 - Demonstrate SmartMeter™-Enabled Data Analytics to Provide Customers with Appliance-Level Energy Use Information
This project conducted a demonstration to understand and compare disaggregation vendors' ability to itemize monthly appliance-level usage for residential customers, as well as their current analytical capability and accuracy of their energy disaggregation software. Additionally, this project surveyed customers to understand their perception of the end-use energy presentations and the value of the disaggregated data.
EPIC 1.19 - Enhanced Data Techniques and Capabilities via the SmartMeter™ Platform
This project successfully demonstrated new ways to leverage the SmartMeterTM platform to provide greater visibility and granularity to additional SmartMeterTM data. The project proved the ability to collect power quality data and potentially enable a proactive response to address customer satisfaction concerns on voltage issues. The project also connected difficult to reach meters to the AMI network to potentially reduce manual meter reading operation and maintenance costs. Finally, the project improved the ability to identify ‘Line Side Tap' scenarios to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investigating energy diversion cases and to mitigate safety hazards for customers, the public or PG&E.
EPIC 1.21 - Auto Identification of Photovoltaic (PV) Resources
This project focused on developing and demonstrating technology to identify existence of PV systems using SmartMeterTM and other data not otherwise recorded in PG&E's interconnection database. Additionally, the project explored the ability of detecting underperforming or malfunctioning PV systems. The project was able to develop key inputs necessary to identify a PV system, filter for those identified systems with unauthorized interconnections, support high quality interconnection records by validating the size of PV systems, understand the limitations in the ability to detect if a PV system is underperforming or not functioning, and established a process to engage with solar customers to provide appropriate notice.
EPIC 1.23 - Photovoltaic (PV) Submetering
This project focused on developing, testing, and validating a way of collecting or estimating solar generation output data and enabling a subset of customers to view their estimated solar generation data through integration with PG&E's YourAccount website (previously known as MyEnergy). Upon determining that using estimated PV generation data would be a viable option, the project also assessed the accuracy of the algorithm used by a third-party vendor. The project determined that additional data is necessary to develop a scalable PV generation estimate, including shading impacts, PV system tilt and azimuth, as well as weather data like fog and marine layer.
EPIC 1.24 - Demonstrate Demand-Side Management (DSM) for Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Cost Reduction
This project successfully provided and tested the performance of a near real-time window of PG&E's Air Conditioning (AC) Direct Load Control (DLC) system, which utilizes one-way switch control devices. This allowed us to improve our ability to estimate AC DLC impacts at the distribution system level to better understand the localized impact of AC direct load control devices on meeting distribution feeder level reliability concerns. It also enabled near real-time visibility of AC direct load control installations to support Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Operations and provided Demand Response (DR) program administrators with near real-time feedback on any problems with direct load control devices before, during or after an event is called, which supports T&D operational improvements.
EPIC 1.25 - Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) Mapping
DCFC charging stations provide the ability for DCFC-ready EVs to recharge to 80% in 30 minutes or less. This project addressed Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption barriers by identifying optimal locations within PG&E's territory for the placement of DCFCs based on factors such as cost, available service transformer capacity, traffic patterns, as well as site host and driver preference. PG&E worked with industry experts to identify the 300 locations of highest unmet public charging need, forecasted out to 2025. Using a variety of inputs, including publicly-available business listing data, PG&E's distribution network to assess available distribution capacity, results from expert interviews, and PlugShare's database on existing public charging locations, the team then identified over 14,000 individual potential charger host sites, such as businesses, parking lots, and public places. The results of the project were developed into an interactive online map that visualizes the 300 optimal DCFC locations. The publicly-available map is accompanied by guidelines in the final report surrounding best practices for siting DCFCs developed to further encourage EV adoption by drivers, site hosts, and developers.
EPIC 2.03b - Test Smart Inverter Enhanced Capabilities – Vehicle to Home
This project assessed the technical feasibility and potential benefits to individual customers and to ratepayers of vehicle to home (V2H) technology which can be utilized for resiliency and reliability. V2H is technically capable of islanding and supporting household load in outage and demand response events and customers reported high initial interest. However, the technology is not yet commercially available and vehicle warranties must be modified to allow for discharge, the cost to customers exceed their perceived benefits, and the net benefits to the utility and ratepayers are likely not sufficient to surmount the low cost-effectiveness for customers. The V2H market is nascent and requires further investigation ahead of PG&E commercialization activities.
EPIC 2.04 - Distributed Generation Monitoring and Voltage Tracking
This project demonstrated an algorithmic process to analyze new data sources (including SmartMeter™ devices and databases of solar irradiance) to predict the likelihood that a Rule 2 voltage violation was caused by distributed solar generation. Solar energy is by nature intermittent, and ebbs and surges of generation can change the voltage for neighboring, downstream customers. As solar adoption continues to grow, there is an increased likelihood of such voltage violations. This functionality, if integrated into a larger grid analytics platform, might improve decision making for Power Quality Engineers responding to customer issues, and Distribution Planners as they work to support safe and reliable solar installation across PG&E's service territory.
EPIC 2.19 - Enable Distributed Demand-Side Strategies & Technologies
This project evaluated the performance and efficacy of using customer-sited behind-the-meter storage for grid and reliability services. The project utilized both residential and commercial assets via two vendor platforms. BTM Energy storage is technically feasible for the use cases evaluated, but before a full program is pursued there are opportunities for improvement.
EPIC 2.21 - Home Area Network (HAN) for Commercial Customers
This project demonstrated the viability and usefulness of access to real-time energy use data for commercial customers. This technology demonstration accomplished three set objectives: 1) verified Zigbee enabled SmartMetersTM for Large Commercial and Industrial customers have the same ability as residential meters to provide real-time usage information via the HAN radio; 2) Identified and assessed LC&I customers' needs and meaningful use cases (i.e. opportunities) for real-time data; 3) Identified the barriers to adoption, integration, and utilization of HAN devices at scale for LC&I customers.
EPIC 2.23 - Demand Side Utility Planning
This project successfully developed and demonstrated the integration of a broader range of customer-side technologies and Distributed Energy Resources (DER) approaches into the utility planning process. The project served as a necessary and enabling precursor to the fulfillment of Assembly Bill (AB) 327/ Section 769, which requires transparent, consistent and more accurate methods to cost-effectively integrate DERs into the distribution planning process. This project delivered new load shape profiles, enhanced load forecasting tool and overall analytical process that allows PG&E to more accurately and consistently integrate DER impact to the distribution system load profile. With these enhancements, PG&E can evaluate if DER growth could defer or even in some instances eliminate the need for future network upgrades. Leveraging any of the SmartMeterTM data, PG&E created more accurate and granular load shapes that allowed distribution planners to more precisely capture DER impact on the load growth forecast.
EPIC 2.28 - Smart Grid Communications Path Monitoring
This project sought to 1) Conduct an initial noise assessment to establish a baseline of radio frequency interference (RFI) in the AMI Networks, 2) Analyze a continuous flow of data to identify potential locations and sources of RFI, and 3) Develop an end-to-end process/tool from monitoring to mitigation of interference. PG&E identified through a sample of radio frequency (RF) data that there are potential channel congestion issues that can lead to RFI conflicts in the AMI networks, however no specific RF tools existed to identify RFI signal(s) in PG&E’s local Neighborhood Area Network (NAN). Given the RF dataset availability and access limitations, there was no feasible path to demonstrate a successful algorithm-based application for proactive automated interference detection. The preliminary work completed on this project could be leveraged in the development and/or use of future tools and in formulation of strategies around broader prevention of PG&E’s network RFI.