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GovBytes: Palo Alto, Calif., utilizes its utility companies to test new technology

The Silicon Valley and its citizens could soon become a testbed for emerging energy-efficient technologies, according to an article in GovTech.

Palo Alto recently announced its plans to introduce a program, aptly named the Emerging Technology Demonstration Program, that would allow utility companies to evaluate new tech proposals submitted by private companies. If the proposals are approved, the utility companies could test the new technology on their customers and return that feedback to the tech companies.

Debra Lloyd, a senior resource planner with Palo Alto Utilities, said the department currently runs a similar, informal research development and demonstration program that is funded through public benefits charges that the department collects on gas and electric use. The budget is about $50,000, and proposals are looked at depending on who in the department has time to do it.

The new program, however, would bring that funding level up to $200,000 and formalize a process on how inquiries from companies are processed. According to Lloyd, the additional money would come out of the funds for the current fiscal year.

Palo Alto is still trying to solidify how the submission and approval processes would work.

Do you think this could lead to cost savings for consumers? Could you see your city or town introducing a similar program?

Palo Alto, Calif., Eyeing New Emerging Tech Program

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“GovBytes” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with Government Technology. If you see great a story on Gov Tech and want to ask a question around it, please send it to [email protected]

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