Smart City San Diego kicks off at UC San Diego

San Diego, January 31, 2011 — The San Diego region is poised to become an example of how cooperation and innovation can bring the promise of more efficient, reliable and sustainable energy to everyday living.

Mayor Jerry Sanders joined clean energy leaders today to announce Smart City San Diego, a collaborative combining the resources of a broad mix of organizations to develop and implement local initiatives that will improve the San Diego region’s energy independence, empower consumers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and drive economic growth.

Smart City San Diego is a new collaborative among the City of San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric, GE, UC San Diego and CleanTECH San Diego.

Working together, these leaders from government, business, education and non-profit will maximize synergies to drive existing energy programs forward, identify new opportunities, embrace additional collaborators and move the San Diego region beyond today’s boundaries of sustainability.

“With the San Diego region currently preparing for one of the largest initial deployments of electric vehicles in the country, the first priority for Smart City San Diego is to expand current projects to implement a comprehensive electric vehicle infrastructure,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “This is the first of many initiatives that our partners throughout the region will undertake to make San Diego the foremost resource-conscious community in the United States.”

Electric vehicles offer tremendous benefits to consumers and the city while posing significant challenges. On the plus side, electric vehicles could reduce U.S. oil importation by 52 percent, and electricity costs per mile are expected to be approximately one-quarter to one-third the cost of gasoline per mile.

However, grid reliability, consumer impact, public charging and alternative fuel options are obstacles to conquer to ensure safe, efficient integration.

To prepare the city and address the wide range of challenges, Smart City San Diego has created a comprehensive plan, including five key electric vehicle initiatives:

1. Utilize smart technology to enable rapid electric vehicle growth while ensuring safe, reliable and efficient power delivery for consumers. UC San Diego, SDG&E and GE will demonstrate smart technologies to identify when and where charging will occur, as well as work with electric vehicle owners to better manage charging loads.

2. Streamline home and public charging deployment processes. SDG&E and the City of San Diego will work toward developing an efficient electric vehicle permitting process to ensure easy and rapid deployment of electric vehicle chargers for home and public-access locations.

3. Research and demonstrate systems to power electric vehicles through clean, renewable energy sources, such as solar. UC San Diego, GE and SDG&E will test the technical and economic feasibility of achieving zero tailpipe emissions, leveraging UC San Diego's extensive solar and fuel cell renewable energy generation infrastructure. CleanTECH San Diego will serve as connective tissue between anticipated technology needs in the electric vehicle sector and the San Diego region’s innovators.

4. Deliver economic growth for San Diego. CleanTECH San Diego and the City of San Diego will help quantify the economic impacts of the electric vehicle initiatives, including cluster growth, incremental job growth and training needs, to ensure the city continues to prosper and benefit from this new industry.

5. Study consumer behavior to better understand their decisions and identify additional electric vehicle initiatives. The collaborators plan to enlist a consumer focus group comprised of 50 UC San Diego students, faculty, and staff who will be offered commercial leases on electric vehicles, charging their vehicles through UC San Diego’s planned electric vehicle infrastructure.

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