Taming the Plug Load Beast

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 10:02 -- MrGreen

The Golden State is looking for suggestions on how to reduce plug load1 energy consumption… and it's willing to help cover some of the development costs.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently published a solicitation to fund projects that develop new plug load efficiency technologies and strategies to help the state achieve its statutory energy goals. The solicitation applies to existing and new construction residential and commercial buildings. Accepted projects must address pre-commercial2 plug load technologies or process / operations improvements.

Money for the projects comes from the state's EPIC (Electric Program Investment Charge) program. EPIC is funded by an electricity ratepayer surcharge; funded programs must benefit the affected ratepayers of investor-owned utilities Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison.

The program is divided into two groups:

  • Group A - Development of next generation plug load devices. Projects in this group target highly inefficient devices and components having the potential for large energy savings. Examples include equipment that's on 24/7 (security alarms, sprinkler controllers, thermostats), office equipment, home entertainment (TVs, set-top boxes and DVRs), personal computers and displays, and gaming systems and consoles.
  • Group B - Development of integrated plug load strategies. Projects in this group focus on improving energy efficiency by integrating plug load devices with automatic building energy management systems and controls to minimize energy use. Examples include research on communication technologies between IoT devices, developing power supply and internal energy reporting, improved understanding of consumer behavior, and determining duty cycling for plug load devices while using smart metering.

Grant amounts will range from $500,000 to $2,000,000 with a maximum of $7,000,000 for Group A and $3,000,000 for Group B. Awards will be announced in early 2016.

To download more information about this program, click here. For more information on California's EPIC program, click here.

1. A plug load is defined as "a plug-in device/hardware that draws energy from an electrical outlet."
2. Technology that has not reached commercial maturity