Government Technology

Will Smart Meters, High-Speed Rail Be Built in California by 2015?



May 14, 2009 By

SACRAMENTO, Calif. --Two centerpieces of President Barack Obama's economic platform -- "smart" electricity grid technology and high-speed train service -- are still in the formative stage, and it's generally too early to know when and where those systems will mature.

But two government officials speaking Thursday at Government Technology's Conference on California's Future weren't hesitant to talk timelines.

Quentin Kopp, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said some segments of a 200 mph bullet train that's planned for the length of California -- like routes between San Francisco and San Jose, or Los Angeles and Anaheim -- could be ready for passengers as early as 2014 or 2015.

The completed Sacramento to San Diego line could cost approximately $45 billion, Kopp said, with some of that coming from the $8 billion set aside in the U.S. economic stimulus package for high-speed rail. Approximately $12 billion to $16 billion will come from federal grants, he said, in addition to $9 billion from general obligation bonds, and a portion of $1 billion per year over the next five years that's included with Obama's spending plan. Billions more will be raised from private equity.

Despite the state's troublesome budget outlook -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed Thursday selling state-owned assets like fairgrounds and sports arenas to bridge a $15 billion deficit -- Kopp said building the high-speed rail and securing funding is almost a certainty.

"It appears to me that money is the lesser of our problems," Kopp said about the rail project.

Smart Meters for Almost All

Paul Clanon, executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission, was equally bullish about the prospects for next-gen technology.

Within the next five years, 75 to 80 percent of Californians will have "smart meters" in their home and business, Clanon said.

Smart meters are updated electricity readers that send and receive data in real time between customers and utility companies. Smart meters are one component of the smart grid, which is expected to improve energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve reliability.

The smart grid will cost a lot up-front to build, Clanon said. California will spend $4.5 billion over the next five years on smart meters, he said. Coincidentally that's the same amount included for smart grid technology in the federal government's economic stimulus package.

Why go to such effort?

"The grid in California is as dumb as a box of rocks," Clanon explained.


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Improving Emergency Response with Digital Communications
Saginaw County, Mich., increases interoperability, communication and collaboration with a digital voice and data network, as well as modern computer-aided dispatch.
Reduce Talk Time in Your Support Center by 40%
As the amount of information available to citizens and employees grows each year, so do customer expectations for efficient service. Contextual Knowledge makes information easy to find, dropping resolution times and skyrocketing satisfaction.
Emerging Technology Adoption in Local Government
In a recent survey conducted by Government Technology, 125 local government leaders shared their challenges, benefits and priorities when adopting emerging technologies such as cloud, mobility and IP. Read how your jurisdiction’s adoption of technology compares to your peers.
View All

Featured Papers