US announces $220 million in grid modernization funding

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Thursday unveiled a new multi-year plan to modernize the nation’s grid.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the plan during a vist to a utility control center in Miami, Florida. Moniz also announced the award of up to $220 million over three years the DOE’s National Labs and partners to support critical research and development in advanced storage systems, clean energy integration, standards and test procedures, and a number of other key grid modernization areas. The award amount remains subject to congressional appropriations.

“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 Moniz, adding that the department’s Quadrennial Energy Review and Quadrennial Technology Review identified needs and opportunities to invest in the grid. “This public-private partnership between our National Laboratories, industry, academia, and state and local government agencies will help us further strengthen our ongoing efforts to improve our electrical infrastructure so that it is prepared to respond to the nation’s energy needs for decades to come.”

The DOE said the Grid Modernization Initiative represented a comprehensive effort to help shape the future of the nation’s grid and solve the challenges of integrating conventional and renewable sources with energy storage and smart buildings. It also seeks to ensure that the grid is resilient and secure to withstand growing cyber security and climate challenges.

The up to $220 million in research and development funding falls under the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium. The consortium involves 14 DOE National Laboratories and dozens of industry, academia, and state and local government agency partners across the country. The funds are being awarded in response to a challenge to the National Laboratories to establish a comprehensive grid-related research and development effort to address a range of emerging challenges and opportunities in the nation’s power grid.

The Energy Department will announce additional programs, initiatives and funding opportunities related to the grid modernization initiative in the coming days.