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Sac State, SMUD formalize energy partnership


Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez with SMUD General Manager and CEO John DiStasio.
Sacramento State and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) have signed a memorandum of understanding formalizing their commitment to a Smart Grid/Smart Energy Initiative. The signing on June 9 was part of the Green Capital Alliance clean energy sector strategy summit at the University’s Alumni Center.

In signing the MOU, Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez and SMUD General Manager and CEO John DiStasio formally recognized the partnership created last year between the University and SMUD to:

  • Develop a shared vision for the California Smart Grid Center, located at the University, and invest resources in it.
  • Plan a Smart Grid Interpretive Center that includes a living laboratory to showcase the use of Smart Grid technologies.
  • Collaborate on developing course work to enhance education related to energy efficiency.
  • Recruit additional community partners.
  • Strengthen “new economy” economic development.

“SMUD and Sacramento State are working to advance the technology that will make our world more energy efficient and inform the education we provide to future workers in the exciting clean tech sector,” said Gonzalez.

“A Smart Grid Interpretative Center at Sac State will help bring these technologies to life,” said DiStasio. “It’s certainly in SMUD’s best interest to assist in training the workforce for a future in which energy plays an even larger role in determining our quality of life.”

Armed with a $4.3 million Department of Energy grant, plus matching funds from Sacramento State, the University has launched a campus-wide Smart Grid program. Still in the design phase, the program calls for installation of electric meters that will monitor electrical use and identify building systems that use excessive energy, says Linda Hafar, director of Utilities and Facility Services. About 16 electric car charging stations also will be constructed, and a new energy management system will be installed to better control building heating and cooling systems, Hafar says.

That money was part of a $127 million smart grid infrastructure grant awarded to SMUD as part of the economic stimulus recovery act.

More funding, from a $749,992 federal grant supported by Congresswoman Doris Matsui, an $83,356 state grant and $72,000 in money and in-kind contributions from SMUD, is being used by the University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science to develop a program that will train displaced workers for jobs in the power industry.

“I am pleased that SMUD and Sacramento State have forged a partnership to continue their collaboration on the advancement of smart grid technologies,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “The Recovery Act funding they received helped put our region at the forefront of investments in smart grid technology, and the partnership builds upon the momentum we need to become a Clean Tech Capital.”

SMUD has also recognized two new buildings at Sacramento State that have exceeded state energy standards. In April, The WELL, a comprehensive recreation and wellness center, received a rebate of $75,572 from SMUD. Last year, the utility awarded $78,000 to the American River Courtyard student residence hall.

The Green Capital Alliance gathering focused on the release of the Clean Energy Sector Strategy, a plan intended to create up to 3,000 jobs in the region’s clean technology sector. There were presentations by Congresswoman Matsui and keynote address by Jack Crawford Jr., CPA of Velocity Venture Capital.

Green Capital Alliance is a broad partnership aimed at making clean technology a leading sector in Sacramento’s economy and is part of Valley Vision, a nonprofit association that partners with a broad cross-section of businesses and government to improve the quality of life in the region.

For media assistance regarding the MOU or Sacramento State’s energy programs, call the University’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.