$19 million for U.S. smart grid


Steven Chu, U.S.
Energy Secretary
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — November 18, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Energy has announced funding of more than $19 million for five projects aimed at optimizing the nation’s electric grid.

The DOE is working with industry, universities, national laboratories, and other groups to conduct research, development, and demonstration projects that lead to commercially available smart grid technologies. The project selections will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of smart grid technologies in three research areas: integrated modeling and analysis tools to automate distribution; advanced sensing, monitoring, and control technologies to enhance asset use and grid reliability; and voltage regulation for high penetration of renewable generation.

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

The projects selected are as follows:

Areva T&D, Inc. is designing and testing an innovative platform for integrating distributed energy resources into the electric grid. 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.  The DOE is funding $6 million out of a total project value of almost $10.5 million, and project team members include Duke Energy Co., University of Washington, University of Connecticut, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA. 

Boeing Company 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. A demonstration will be conducted on ComEd’s distribution system in the greater Chicago area. The DOE is funding $6 million out of a total project value of $10.4 million, and other project team members include Spirae, Inc, Viridity Energy Inc., and EDSA Micro Corp. 
ABB Inc. (Raleigh, North Carolina) will 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. A demonstration will be conducted on Xcel Energy’s distribution system in Denver, Colorado. The DOE is funding $2.99 million out of a total project value of $4.1 million, and the other project team member is Texas A&M.

Varentec, Inc. 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. The prototype and full-scale solution will be tested at North Carolina State University’s FREEDM System Center. The DOE is funding almost $2.3 million out of a total project value of almost $2.9 million, and other project team members include Cree Inc., S&C Electric Company, and Consolidated Edison Company.

On-Ramp Wireless, Inc. 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. A demonstration will be conducted on San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison distribution systems. The DOE is funding $2.1 million out of a total project value of almost $2.8 million, and the other project team member is Schweitzer Engineering Labs.