The plan, which is expected to take effect from January 1, 2024, is focussed on building resilience into the company’s electricity and gas networks and targets the meeting of California’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.
Among the major investments detailed is the implementation of the next generation of smart meters in order to give customers more control, access and insights into their energy usage.
Grid modernisation is planned with cutting-edge technologies to enable the integration of significantly more renewables generation, energy storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging, while grid automation and remote sensing tools and the replacement of ageing or failure-prone equipment are intended to cut the risk for power outages.
More utility-scale battery systems are targetted at strategic locations to maximize the use of solar energy, which is often currently curtailed in the middle of the day and the EV charging infrastructure will be expanded, given all passenger vehicle sales in California are required to be zero-emission by 2035, followed by the medium and heavy-duty vehicle sales by 2045.
Other planned investment include developing additional clean fuel sources such as green hydrogen, hardening powerlines to reduce wildfire risks, upgrading microgrids with battery storage and strengthening cybersecurity and technology infrastructure to address changing security threats.
Among proposals for the gas infrastructure is an acceleration of the replacement of ageing plastic natural gas pipelines to improve safety and reliability and reduce methane emissions.
“Given the changes in climate and the growing need for a clean energy future, [the plan] will ultimately result in improvements that create long-term benefits now and for future generations,” commented SDG&E President Bruce Folkmann.
“The budget proposal we put forth represents the conscientious efforts of hundreds of SDG&E employees to strike the right balance between holding down costs and making the infrastructure investments needed for a clean energy future.”
SDG&E estimates the plan will add $9 to customers’ electricity bills and $9.60 to gas bills compared to 2023.
California state requirements are that every four years the regulated utilities must file ‘general rate cases’ outlining their capital investments and forecast costs for operations and maintenance.