US DOE Awards More than $47M in Recovery Act Funding to Advance Smart Grid Development; New Smart Grid Report and Smart Grid Clearinghouse
The US Department of Energy delivered more than $47 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for eight projects to further smart grid demonstration projects in seven states. Energy Secretary Chu also announced $10.5 million in Recovery Act funding available for local governments to develop emergency preparedness plans for their electrical systems.
The $47 million in new Recovery Act awards will support existing projects that are advancing demonstration-scale smart grid technologies. This investment will add to the $17 million in funds the Department had awarded these projects in 2008 following a competitive award process.
|“Smart grid supports EV and PHEV deployment through real-time pricing structures and bi-directional metering. Real-time pricing would enable customers to recharge vehicles during off-peak hours at reduced cost. Bi-directional metering would enable customers to purchase energy at off-peak hours and sell unused, stored energy back to the utility during peak periods at higher rates. These two elements could feasibly enhance the customer’s return on investment (ROI) for EV and PHEV technologies and accelerate market penetration. However, technical challenges with regard to battery performance due to charge and discharge cycles need further investigation and remediation.”|
—Smart Grid System Report Annex A
As part of its efforts to inform Congress, energy stakeholders, and the public about smart grid efforts, the Department of Energy released the first Smart Grid System Report, which examines the status of smart grid deployments nationwide and any regulatory or government barriers to continued deployment. The report finds that while many smart grid capabilities are just beginning to emerge, the adoption of various technologies—such as smart metering, automated substation controls and distributed generation—is growing significantly.
The report also notes that smart grid capabilities are socially transformational and that to achieve broader deployment and implementation, larger cultural change will be needed. Improvements in physical and cyber security and information privacy will require consumers, manufacturers and utilities to closely follow a range of grid best practices.
The DOE has also begun the development of a Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse. The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) was selected as the winner of the $1.3 million initiative to develop and maintain the Clearinghouse website, which will be charged with answering questions from the public and distributing information about smart grid initiatives happening nationwide.
Recovery Act Awards for Smart Grid Demonstration Projects
Projects are implemented by teams of organizations, including utilities, private companies, universities, governmental groups, etc. The lead organizations for each of the supported projects include:
American Superconductor Corporation. Development and In-Grid Demonstration of a Transmission Voltage SuperLimiter Fault Current Limiter (Westborough, MA) - $4,832,972
American Superconductor is developing and demonstrating advanced technology for a fault current limiter, which will restrict power surges through equipment in fault conditions such as a short circuit, maintaining power quality and grid stability.
American Superconductor Corporation. High Temperature Superconductor Transmission Cable System for Installation in the Long Island Power Grid (LIPA 2) (Westborough, MA) - $7,584,120
American Superconductor Corporation is also developing the key components required to commercially deploy second-generation, high-temperature superconductor cables that will increase the reliability and efficiency of power delivery cables. The company will also use Recovery Act funding to demonstrate a prototype cable in the Long Island Power Authority power grid.
Zenergy Power Inc. Design, Test & Demonstration of Saturable Reactor High Temperature Superconducting Fault Current Limiters (San Francisco, CA) - $8,081,973
Zenergy Power will design, test, and demonstrate an advanced technology for a fault current limiter for use on the transmission system. The goal of the fault current limiter is the same as the American Superconductor technology—restricting power surges in fault conditions such as a short circuit and maintaining power quality and grid stability—but uses a different type of technology to limit the flow of the current.
City of Fort Collins. Research Development and Demonstration of Peak Load Reduction on Distribution Feeders Using Distributed Energy Resources for the City of Fort Collins (Fort Collins, CO) - $4,841,647
The city of Fort Collins, in cooperation with a number of partners in the state, will research, develop and demonstrate a coordinated and integrated system of mixed clean energy technologies and distributed energy resources. This will enable the city to reduce peak load electricity demand by at least 15 percent at distribution feeders and allow for expanded use of renewables.
Consolidated Edison Company of New York. Interoperability of Demand Response Resources Demonstration in New York (New York City, NY) - $5,631,110
Consolidated Edison will develop and demonstrate true interoperability between an energy delivery company and retail electric consumers. By using demand response resources, the project will enhance the reliability of the distribution grid and the efficiency of its operations.
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). The Perfect Power Prototype for the Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL) - $5,405,583
IIT will develop and demonstrate a system that will achieve “perfect power” at the main campus of ITT, which will always meet the needs of the individual end-user. Different end users have different needs, so a perfect power system focuses on flexibility and adaptability that can accommodate every user. The system will focus on implementing distributed resources and creating demand-responsive microgrids to increase reliability and decrease overall energy demand. The project aims to replicate its efforts with other municipality-sized energy systems.
University of Hawaii at Manoa-Hawaii Natural Energy Institute. A Dispatchable Distribution Feeder for Peak Load Reduction and Wind Farming (Honolulu, HI) - $5,548,585
The University of Hawaii will explore the management of distribution system resources for improved service quality and reliability, transmission congestion relief, and grid support functions.
University of Nevada – Las Vegas. Dramatic Residential Demand Reduction in the Desert Southwest (Las Vegas, NV) - $5,724,709
The University of Nevada-Las Vegas will explore technologies to apply distributed generation and detailed energy accounting and control for a large residential development in the southwestern US, with the goal of significantly reducing residential electrical demand. This community of green homes will provide a laboratory atmosphere that will be used to apply cost benefit analysis and research various energy-conserving design approaches.