Testing the Advanced Technologies of the Future

Technology in energy is advancing at a breakneck pace. We are quickly moving from a traditionally mechanical world to a smarter and interconnected environment where systems are becoming more and more autonomous and computerized.

Here at SDG&E, we aren’t sitting idly by and letting advancements slip through the cracks. We have teams of engineers working continuously to test, evaluate and ultimately adopt the latest technologies for use in our electric system.

Much of the work is done at a little known, but very important facility in Escondido. The SDG&E Integrated Test Facility is where existing and emerging technologies are tested before being given a final stamp of approval and deployed into the field.

Among the technologies tested at the Integrated Test Facility include smart thermostats and meters, plug-in vehicle charging systems, rooftop solar inverters and distributed energy storage systems. Technology which enabled the Borrego Springs Microgrid was also tested and perfected at the lab before it was built in the real world.    

These technological advancements are helping us build the cleanest, safest and most reliable energy company in America. But, before we can implement these new technologies we need to first make sure they are safe, learn what their impact on the grid will be, and equally as important whether they are fit for use in our infrastructure or should be recommended to our customers.

The Integrated Test Facility was conceived in 2010 in conjunction with Smart Grid development efforts. It opened in 2014 and currently consists of seven labs.

  • Foundational/Communications Lab – This lab tests Smart Grid communications systems using exact replicas of what can be found out in the field.
  • Power Systems Lab – This state-of-the-art lab allows for real-time simulation of power systems using 10 high-powered simulators.
  • Distributed Energy Resources Lab – Testing of equipment and devices like inverters, energy storage systems and their impact on the grid happens at this lab.
  • Smart Garage Lab – Researchers here are evaluating vehicle charging station metering accuracy and photovoltaic system inverters.
  • Home Area Network Lab – Work includes testing of smart meters and appliances, smart home thermostats, and technologies being developed by the Demand Response Team.
  • Information Security Lab – Cybersecurity is the primary focus of the work being done at this lab, but research is also underway here on things like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.  
  • Situational Awareness Lab – This lab provides a central location for the visualization of data from the six outlying labs at the Integrated Test Facility.

The innovative work being done in these seven labs has been instrumental in helping SDG&E secure several patents. Research at the Integrated Test Facility recently led to a patent for a quantum cryptography algorithm, which can identify through markers in computer code whether secure information has been compromised.

Click here to learn more about the Integrated Test Facility.