Feds fund $19M in smart grid demos

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) calls it a system that is cleaner, more efficient, reliable, resilient and responsive. We call it the smart grid.

Whatever you label it, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced more than $19 million for five projects aimed at optimizing the nation’s electric grid.

Recipients of funding include Areva T&D, Inc. (Redmond, WA), for the design and testing a platform for integrating distributed energy resources into the electric grid; Boeing Company (Saint Louis, Missouri) for the demonstration of a smart, automated, secure, and self-healing electric distribution management system; ABB Inc. (Raleigh, North Carolina) for the research, development, and demonstration of a real-time monitoring, control, and health management system to improve grid reliability and efficiency.

Additional recipients include Varentec, Inc. (North Andover, Massachusetts) for the research and development of “a wide range of next-generation power electronics devices to better integrate renewable resources;” and On-Ramp Wireless, Inc. (San Diego, CA) for the development and demonstration of a wireless grid sensor and faulted circuit indicator capable of monitoring underground and other hard-to-reach distribution circuit locations.

According to the DOE, these selections will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of smart grid technologies in three areas of research: 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.

More information is available on the DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability website.

*Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling