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UTC Foundation Grant to UCLA Will Examine How 5G Telecommunications Services Can Benefit Grid Modernization

UTC Foundation Grant to UCLA Will Examine How 5G Telecommunications Services Can Benefit Grid Modernization

Palm Springs, Calif. – May 10, 2018 – The UTC Foundation—the charitable arm of the Utilities Technology Council (UTC)—awarded a $7,500 grant to the UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center (SMERC) to help fund research into how new communications technologies could benefit the energy sector. The Foundation announced the grant at the annual UTC Telecom & Technology meeting in Palm Springs, Calif.

Electric utilities use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) networks to underpin the transmission and distribution infrastructure responsible for safely delivering reliable electricity across the country. These ICT networks are essential for day-to-day reliability, situational awareness, storm response, cyber and physical security, and grid modernization.

The UCLA SMERC project seeks to examine whether new 5G wireless communications systems and services can assist utilities in grid modernization, smart-grid development, microgrids, and the integration of new technologies such as battery storage and rooftop solar. With the ability to provide higher speeds and greater connectivity than 3G and 4G wireless technologies, 5G systems offer tremendous promise to energy and electric utility firms.

The UTC Foundation grant will assist UCLA as its assembles students, researchers, and professors to explore and develop a set of recommendations for how 5G technology could be used in the energy sector. The Foundation’s central mission is to encourage students to consider careers in the energy and utility industries. By partnering with universities, the UTC Foundation can reach out directly with the next generation of the utility workforce.

Recognizing the key role telecommunications networks play in electric reliability and the deployment of distributed energy resources, the SMERC project personifies what the UTC Foundation is all about, said UTC Foundation Chairman Connie Allen of Motorola Solutions.

“This project cuts to the heart of what utilities are doing in harnessing new technologies to better serve their customers,” Ms. Allen said. “New 5G services could greatly enhance these products and services, so we are thrilled to work with UCLA on this effort. We are impressed by the cutting-edge research UCLA’s SMERC team performs on a daily basis and look forward to seeing the end result.”

This marks the second grant awarded by the UTC Foundation since its late 2016 inception. Last year the Foundation awarded its inaugural grant to UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center.

About the UTC Foundation: Led by a Board of Directors from the utility and critical manufacturing sectors that oversees the Foundation’s strategy and helps build industry relations, the UTC Foundation (UTCF) was formed to help solve the workforce challenge facing utilities and critical infrastructure technology providers. The UTC Foundation’s Mission is to sponsor educational incentives and programs to attract, retain and support top technology and telecommunications talent to foster the future workforce in critical infrastructure industries. The UTC Foundation vision for the future is an abundance of skilled and passionate talent transforming critical infrastructure industries through technology. Donations can be made via the UTC Foundation website –

About the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center: The UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center performs research, creates innovations, and demonstrates advanced wireless/communications, Internet and sense-and-control technologies to enable the development of the next generation of the electric utility grid—The Smart Grid. SMERC also provides thought leadership via partnerships between utilities, government, policymakers, technology providers, electric vehicle and electric appliance manufacturers, Department of Energy research labs and universities so as to collectively work on envisioning, planning, and executing the smart grid of the future.


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