Yesterday I had a great meeting with mentor and friend Byron Washom, Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives at UCSD. I met Byron as a graduate student studying environmental policy and energy economics. Everyone around said, you must meet Byron. When we met, I shot a video interview and immediately understood why he is so well respected. His level of intelligence, commitment, and curiosity are unlike anyone else I know in SD. Not only that; he deeply believes in the value of students taking their ideas beyond the classroom to find real-world applications – i.e. “lab to market”. I couldn’t agree more with this belief. During yesterday’s meeting, I accompanied Byron on a campus site visit where a multi-organization partnership will be installing a battery storage facility at one of the campus’ parking lots. Where will the batteries come from? They’ll we be sourced from electric vehicles that require new batteries to meet acceleration requirements, which generally occurs after a 20% loss of a battery’s useful life, says Byron.
It’s partnerships such as these that will provide the pulse of innovation and know-how throughout our region. Below I’ve outlined precisely this type of collaborative effort taking place in San Diego, both on and off campus.
Smart City San Diego is an innovative partnership between the City, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), General Electric (GE), CleanTECH San Diego, and UC San Diego. Keep an eye out for tangible projects coming out of the pipeline thanks tothis program – e.g. CAR2GO (image below).
Last year I consulted for the City regarding electric vehicle integration within the City fleet. Though I cannot release specific details, let’s just say there are some real opportunities to introduce cost savings, reduce tailpipe emissions, and access state/federal resources. Opportunities abound. However, with the exceedingly low price of natural gas likely to continue trending downward, look for CNG vehicles to make a surge as cash-strapped policy makers and committees must make tough short- to medium-term economic decisions.
Other initiatives include: Smart Appliances, Economic Development and Job Growth, Solar Integrated Energy Storage, Policy Leadership, and the achievement of making SD a Solar Decathlon 2013 Finalist.
For more information, here’s an interesting article.