Energy efficiency critical for future, engineers say at Conejo gathering

Technology that could transform energy production and consumption in the future was the focus of a gathering of engineers and entrepreneurs in Westlake Village on Thursday.

The Buenaventura chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers held its second annual Energy Efficiency Symposium at the Westlake Village Inn featuring local companies and special guest speakers.

Karl Geiger, of Moorpark, who chairs the institute's Buenaventura section, said the event was a way to bring people together to share what they are doing and explore ways of advancing energy efficiency.

"You are looking at the people who are making the future," Geiger said.

"People are heedless in how they use electricity. There needs to be price signals in the marketplace, which means if electricity becomes more expensive, people will find ways to cut back. We don't have that in place for the electrical infrastructure of the country right now, and we need to move in that direction," he said. "The world needs to be smarter."

Keynote speaker Rajit Gadh, director of the UCLA Smart Grid Research Center, told the gathering that better control is critical for grid operators in order to manage the ebb and flow of supply and demand.

"Utilities are moving towards market-oriented pricing," Gadh said. "The consumerization of the electric grid is inevitable. It's going to happen."

Gadh cited the example of a utility company in Texas that has reduced the cost of electricity from 24 cents per kilowatt-hour to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour after 6 p.m. The move is changing behavior and the way customers are using electricity, he said.

Gadh and his team at the Smart Grid Research Center is involved in making devices that will use "automated demand response" protocols and contribute to more efficient energy consumption.

To read the full article by Rachel McGrath click here.