The US Department of Energy recently announced that it will provide $18 million for six new projects which are focused on developing more energy storage solutions for solar power, and for making the grid more resilient. These two focus areas are part of the DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative and the Sunshot Initiative.
These efforts are actually part of a much larger goal of national grid improvement, with up to $220 million in research and development funding, “Modernizing the U.S. electrical grid is essential to reducing carbon emissions, creating safeguards against attacks on our infrastructure, and keeping the lights on,” said Secretary Moniz.
Solar PV and energy storage are increasing to the point where elements of the grid system need to be updated to be able to integrate them. Without grid upgrades, the new clean, renewable energy technology’s potency could be undermined. (It’s fascinating to see how the emergence of new technology putting pressure on the old to improve.)
“Energy storage, solar PV, and smart grid technologies experienced incredible growth in 2015 and we expect they will play an increasingly important role in reaching the nation’s climate and clean energy goals in the years ahead,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.
The six new projects receiving funding are:
- Austin Energy (Austin, Texas), $4.3 million for the creation of a distributed energy resource management platform which is adaptable to any region and market structure.
- Carnegie Mellon University, $1 million for the development of a distributed, agent-based control system to combine smart inverters, energy storage, and home automation controllers and smart thermostats.
- Commonwealth Edison Company, $4 million to utilize smart inverters for solar PV and battery storage systems, within a microgrid community.
- The Electric Power Research Institute, $3.1 million to design and make a functional system for end-to-end grid integration of energy storage and load management with PV generation, for 5 utilities.
- Fraunhofer USA, $3.5 million to design and make a functional system a scalable, integrated PV, storage, and facility load management solution in conjunction with the SunDial Global Scheduler system.
- The Hawaiian Electric Company, $2.4 million to demonstrate enhanced utility visibility and control of the distribution system while integrating more distributed renewable energy technologies.
Image Credit: DOE