SDG&E President Highlights Leadership and Innovation

SDG&E President address energy innovators

Remarks as prepared for delivery by SDG&E President, Scott Drury, to an audience of approximately 3,000 energy industry innovators, at the 2017 DistribuTECH conference. 

Good morning… Welcome to San Diego… and thank you for coming to America’s Finest City.

San Diego is a rich, diverse and remarkable place.

It's where I grew up, went to school, met my wife and raised my children.

I have a deeply personal connection to this city and a commitment to seeing its residents and businesses thrive.

San Diego is a community of leadership and innovation….

A community made up of people focused on possibilities and making things better.

That's the same focus that I see first-hand every day in working with 4,000 plus amazing people at San Diego Gas and Electric.

I’m so proud to serve as the new President of SDG&E and really excited about the opportunities in our company and in our industry.

What we do every day….. what everyone in this room does every day…. matters. 

Energy touches people’s lives in profound ways.

From the restaurant owner that depends on safe, reliable energy to brew the world’s best craft beers or grill the world’s best fish tacos… both of which we have right here in San Diego….

To the bio tech company that is literally doing life-saving research.


And it matters in a BIG WAY.

At San Diego Gas and Electric, we come to work every day focused on improving lives and communities by delivering clean, safe and reliable energy in the best and most efficient way possible. 

And... we talk a lot about building America’s Best Energy Company.

Some say that’s pretty aspirational… I say, “It is, but we think America’s Finest City deserves America’s best energy company!"


I’d like to share some of our progress around clean energy and climate issues, both of which are the subject of much discussion in America.

At SDG&E, our focus has been — and will remain — on reducing carbon emissions to create cleaner air for our customers and our communities.

For more than a decade, we’ve been at the forefront of delivering results in support of California’s clean energy agenda.

And, we continue to outperform California's renewable portfolio standard requirements…..

In fact, over the last 12 months, more than forty percent of the energy delivered to our customers has been renewable.


We're also helping our customers go green more directly...

We have supported and enabled more than 100,000 private rooftop solar installations in our communities.

Some very industrious employees at SDGE even invented an electrical device that makes the installation of rooftop solar substantially safer, faster and more affordable.

They also developed technology and business processes to deliver the fastest interconnection process in the industry.



In addition, our efficiency programs have helped to make our customers some of the most efficient consumers of energy in America.

While we’re very proud of our work to date, some of our biggest opportunities are in front of us.

And when I say us….. I don’t just mean SDG&E…

I mean everyone in this room…

Everyone in this industry….

There are enormous opportunities in transportation.

The transportation sector is the single greatest source of carbon emissions in America.

In San Diego, fifty percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the movement of people and things.

With electricity increasingly sourced from the sun and wind, now is the time to fundamentally change the way we move both.

By electrifying transportation… we can better leverage the grid, lower costs, and clean the air. 

California is home to 50 percent of all electric vehicles in America.


San Diego is leading the way… there are nearly 23,000 electric vehicles on the road in San Diego today…. including mine, which is down in the garage….

We want to accelerate San Diego’s innovative leadership position in clean transportation even faster.

Which is why we recently filed for approval with the California Public Utilities Commission to install the charging infrastructure required to serve the airport, marine port, delivery fleets, and homes throughout the region.

These programs build on our work to expand electric charging infrastructure at 350 work places and multi-family communities that are part of our signature Power Your Drive program. 

And, we’re making sure innovation is available for everyone, which is why a minimum of 10 percent of these chargers will be placed in disadvantaged communities.


While clean energy and electrification are exciting frontiers, safety and reliability must remain the uncompromised foundations of our industry.

I know for me… and I’m confident the same is true for all of you… nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our employees, our contractors, and the communities we serve.

People often ask leaders what keeps you up at night…

Far and away…. Nothing else is even close…. It's safety.

Forums like DistribuTech where we can come together…

Learn from each other….

See the latest technologies and how they can be applied to improve our companies…. is a great opportunity to advance safety.

In San Diego, one of the greatest risks to our operations and safety is the threat of wildfires, especially during periods of powerful dry winds.

Through leadership and innovation, we are developing and installing some of the most advanced technologies to reduce threats, increase situational awareness, and improve public safety.

SDG&E is home to the largest private utility weather network in the world.

The network contains 170 individual weather stations that are providing real-time information at critical locations across the region.

Information from the network is used to inform our operational decisions and is shared with the National Weather Service and local emergency responders so they also have better information to safely do their jobs.

SDG&E has leveraged the network and created tools to integrate weather forecasts, fuel moisture content and humidity levels to create a threat Index which rates the potential for wildfires fueled by strong seasonal winds.


The next area I’d like to highlight is our leadership around reliability.

Through investments in infrastructure and technology, SDG&E has earned the distinction of being named the most reliable utility in the Western United States for 11 consecutive years.

Sixty percent of SDG&E’s system has been undergrounded and more than 7,000 wood poles have been replaced with steel poles in high-risk fire areas.

We’ve developed a sophisticated microgrid that leverages solar energy, storage, and traditional generation to meet the unique needs of the community of Borrego Springs about 90 miles from here.

And finally, one of our latest efforts is in energy storage... area that holds great promise for meeting peak energy demand and providing higher levels of reliability.

Currently, we are building two projects, including a 30 MW lithium ion battery project that will be the largest installation of its kind in the world.

And, with collaboration from the Japanese government and Sumitomo USA, we also installed a utility-scale flow battery.

That's more leadership...

That's more innovation.

Like DistribuTECH, SDG&E… and in fact San Diego as a region….. believes in innovation and leadership.

For me, it's very personal…. I love this city.

I love the people, the vibrancy, the weather………

I used to love the football team but that’s another matter…

I want to look back 10 to 20 years from now and know that we made a meaningful difference by delivering clean, safe and reliable energy to the communities we are privileged to serve.

And have my children…. and their children…. recognize that through innovation and leadership we helped to ensure San Diego remains America’s Finest City. 

DistribuTECH is the largest U.S. conference that covers current and future issues, innovations, and technologies in the utility industry.