Living Lab: San Diego and Imperial Counties Fostering Smart Grid and Biorenewable Development

New Next 10 report examines how San Diego's robust research and development community—coupled with Imperial County's abundance of industrial land, reliable energy, and large labor pool—are helping to grow the regional economy.

The report identifies these counties as leaders in the development of microgrid and biorenewables technologies. For example, The University of California, San Diego is working with the area's technology companies, SDG&E, and the U.S. military to advance grid innovation—and the campus generates 92 percent of its own energy.

The region also leads the state in advanced biorenewable fuels, chemicals, and products derived from renewable feedstocks such as plants, algae, and waste. Biorenewable companies in the region have attracted over $800 million in early-stage investment over the past decade. Home to a wide array of biorenewable companies like Sapphire Energy, Genometica, Verdezyne, Oberon Fuels, Earthrise Nutritionals, and Synthetic Genomics, other companies like Canergy and California Ethanol and Power are now actively working to establish projects and facilities in the region.

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  • San Diego and Imperial Counties are leading the state's core clean economy in the areas of smart grid and biorenewables technologies.
  • San Diego Gas & Electric is a driver for micro grids in the region, having adopted a smart grid deployment plan and have converted nearly all of its meters to be smart grid compatible.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense facilities in the San Diego region create a natural early-adopter market for smart grid technology.
  • San Diego and Imperial Counties are leading the state in the development and production of new advanced biorenewable products, with area companies enjoying sizeable venture capital investments.