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San Diego Gas and Electric talks "self-healing grid" at DTECH

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San Diego's electric grid is fast becoming one of the most advanced and reliable energy systems in the nation and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is installing even more smart grid technologies to create an increasingly resilient and responsive energy network.

The technologies, described by SDG&E at DistribuTECH last week, include wireless sensors that automatically detect outages and other problems on the electric grid, as well as devices that smoothly integrate environmentally beneficial renewable energy. By using an efficient broad-based wireless network, fault detectors immediately send alarms to grid operators if a problem occurs anywhere along the power lines. Traditionally, crews are dispatched to the field to look for faults on electric wires, but the fault detectors allow SDG&E to know where the outage occurred on the electric line and quickly send crews to that location.

SDG&E has already installed 2,000 fault detectors throughout the region and will install 10,000 by 2017.

The installation of these technologies is creating a more automated electric grid that can quickly respond to changes and events and, in many cases, will even be able to use information to "heal" itself remotely or sense problems before they occur.

"San Diego's electric grid is becoming one of the most advanced and reliable energy systems in the nation," said David Geier, vice president of electric operations for SDG&E. "The grid can respond immediately to outages and is increasingly resilient to events, while being more sustainable overall through the integration of clean energy."

A more "self-aware" grid will be able to sense and respond to real-time information, making for a more sustainable electric grid. The "self-healing" aspect of the grid is a key element of SDG&E's overall smart grid deployment effort, which is one of the most ambitious in the nation and consists of more than 60 separate initiatives.

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