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Collaboration Is Key For The Smart City Of San Diego

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Our second stop on the West Coast is San Diego. San Diego’s smart city collaboration brings together the City of San Diego, General Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the University of California-San Diego, and Cleantech San Diego, a member-driven trade organization that supports the cleantech industry. This broad-based group is taking bold steps to improve the region’s energy independence, to empower consumers to use electric vehicles, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to encourage economic growth.

One of the earliest initiatives was the demonstration of “smart buildings” in San Diego’s port area. The Port of San Diego was tapped as a demonstration site, where smart sensors were installed in buildings to detect energy consumption and translate it into easy-to-manage, real-time data for building operators at the Port of San Diego to act upon. This information is analyzed in near-real time, which allows adjustments to be made to improve energy efficiency. The data is also read by SDG&E smart meters, allowing for two-way communication between the building and the local electric company.

Like other smart cities, San Diego has installed smart LED street lights that help the city save energy and improve congestion. So far, SDG&E has installed 14,000 LED street lights and 3,200 sensors in the downtown area—the largest deployment of an “Internet of Things” platform in the world. This is just a first step—by the time the street light project is complete, San Diego and surrounding areas in the county will have 75,000 retrofitted streetlights, resulting in 30 million kWh of annual energy savings.

The San Diego Zoo is the site of another innovative project that allows owners of electric vehicles to charge their cars at solar-powered charging stations. San Diego has one of the nation’s highest levels of electric vehicle drivers per capita, and the solar-to-electric vehicle charging stations have been increasingly used month over month.

San Diego is making huge strides in smarter energy use by incorporating innovative technologies throughout the city and region.