The Smart Grid Industry on the Westcoast

Smart Grid


In 2007, the U.S. government passed the Energy Independence Act (EISA) which paved the way for a modernization of the electrical grid. This law not only prompted the  founding of the Federal Smart Grid Task Force and  the Smart Grid Advisory Committee but also guaranteed $100 million per year from 2008 until 2012 in funds for the development and deployment of a smart grid. With the help of these fundings, many states have been able to attract businesses from all over the world in the past years. According to Greentech Media Research returns of the smart grid market in the U.S. will rise up to $ 9.3 Billion in 2012.

California’s Silicon Valley is one of America’s biggest smart grid industry clusters. Its innovative environment, constant adoption of new technologies, and broad IT resources make the Bay Area a perfect host for  smart grid companies.

Important Facts about the Bay Area Smart Grid Cluster

  • Employment in smart grid-related sectors within the Bay Area has increased 129% since 1995
  • In 2010 “smart grid-related” jobs amount to nearly 17,800—up from 12,560 in 2009 and more than double the number of jobs in 1995
  • Since 2009 there has been a nation-wide increase of309% in investment in the smart-grid industry
  • In California investments have increased 183% since 2005, accounting for $2.8 billion in 2009. The Silicon Valley Task Force anticipates further growth
  • In 2009 there were 670 companies located in the Bay Area providing smart grid-related products
  • The companies are mostly small businesses (69% with 10 employees or fewer)
  • Manufacturing holds the largest share of employment (57%), followed by installation (24%) and services (10%)
  • On top of all this, the Bay Area also hosts world-class research and academic institutions that contribute to the development and deployment of smart grid-related technologies (e.g. The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Demand Response Research Center (DRRC) at UC Berkley, as well as the Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR) and Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC) at Stanford University)
  • Deployment of a smart grid will not only fuel the demand for smart grid-related products and services as well as for IT products but will also improve the region’s competitive business environment by establishing a more reliable and efficient electrical grid. This in turn will attract even more smart-grid businesses