The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that it will invest $19 million in five seperate projects, each aimed at optimizing the country’s national grid. The DOE said that the smart grid projects will create a ‘leaner and more efficient, reliable, resilient and responsive’ grid.

The five projects will aim to modernize the nation’s electric grid by employing remote control and automation, two-way communications, and information technology to better inform consumers and utilities. The five plans are as follows:

Areva T&D, Inc. (Redmond, Washiongton): The company is designing and testing an innovative platform for integrating distributed energy resources into the electric grid.  Distributed energy resources are smaller-scale energy sources designed to provide electricity in locations close to consumers, such as home solar panels, energy storage and electric vehicle charging.  The project will develop models and analytical tools for seamlessly integrating distributed energy resources with smart meters, demand response, and advanced sensors, with a demonstration planned for a distribution circuit serving a suburb of Charlotte, NC.

Boeing Company (Saint Louis, Missouri): This plan will demonstrate a smart, highly-automated, secure, and self-healing electric distribution management system that will allow for integration of a greater amount of customer-owned energy resources and automation into the distribution system, increasing the value of energy resources to both end-use customers and utilities. A demonstration will be conducted on ComEd’s distribution system in the greater Chicago area.

ABB Inc. (Raleigh, North Carolina): ABB Inc. is to receive funding to research, develop, and demonstrate a real-time monitoring, control, and health management system to improve grid reliability and efficiency. It will utilize digital data from sensors and substation Intelligent Electronic Devices to continuously monitor system performance.  Using real-time information, utility control center operators will be able to address outages, power quality issues and other anomalies to reduce the frequency and duration of outages.

Varentec, Inc. (North Andover, Massachusetts): The company will conduct research and development on a wide range of next-generation power electronics devices to better integrate renewable resources. Using an innovative circuit design with an integrated battery energy storage system, the project’s goal is to deliver a fast response to rapid voltage changes arising from grid-connected renewable resources. 

On-Ramp Wireless, Inc. (San Diego, California): This firm will develop and demonstrate a wireless grid sensor and faulted circuit indicator capable of monitoring underground and other hard-to-reach distribution circuit locations. The goal for this project is to develop and demonstrate tools that will enhance the reliability of distribution grids, improve system performance and maintenance, and enable future remote monitoring applications.

Speaking about the five plans, Energy Secretary Chu said, “These innovative projects will greatly enhance the reliability, efficiency, and resource diversity of the nation’s electric grid. Developing smart grid technologies will give consumers choice and promote energy savings, increase energy efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy resources.”

+ Department of Energy

via EERE News

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