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National lab contributes to power grid alliance

October 09, 2003 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – Battelle today announced that it has joined a coalition of six other corporations in forming the GridWiseTM Alliance, a collaboration that will realize the vision of an electric power grid that leverages information technology to improve power generation, distribution and consumption. Battelle will provide scientific and technological expertise through the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which it operates for DOE.

The alliance will be comprised of Alstom, Battelle, IBM, PJM, RockPort Capital Partners, Sempra Energy and UAI. By joining together, the alliance will provide stronger, more strategic and innovative science-based solutions to federal agencies and power generation and distribution organizations.

"The GridWise Alliance is committed to bringing the speed, efficiency and productivity enhancements of information technology to the electric grid," said Mike Lawrence, associate laboratory director for PNNL's Energy Science and Technology Directorate.

"This vision for a transaction-based, information-rich system is called GridWise, and it has the ability to greatly improve the efficiency and reliability of our electric system the same way information technology has improved the efficiency of virtually all other businesses over the past 15 years," he said. "GridWise can do for the grid what the Internet has done for communication."

According to Steve Hauser, alliance executive director and UAI's vice president of DigitalCityTM, "The GridWise Alliance takes a systems approach, one that optimizes energy resources by allowing all elements of the power grid to work together in smarter and faster ways. It envisions new and existing technologies working together, allowing each to sense and respond to real-time changes in the entire grid - similar to how parts of a living organism cooperate to function as a whole.

"By banding together and expanding its membership, the alliance hopes to shape the power system transformation for the benefit of all Americans."

The alliance's mission is to lead the transformation of the U.S. electric system into the information age - including generation to delivery, down to customer appliances and equipment. This transformation would empower consumers through direct participation in energy markets and benefit market participants by offering solutions that cross the enterprise and regulatory boundaries. Additionally, the integration of information technologies into the grid is expected to enhance security and reliability by creating a flexible and adaptive system. Individually, the alliance partners have invented different technologies and approaches that could be leveraged by the alliance.

One example of a technology that could be rolled into the alliance's approach is the Grid-FriendlyTM Appliance controller, a credit card-sized circuit board developed at PNNL that could be installed in refrigerators, air conditioners, water heaters and other household appliances and that could temporarily shut down these appliances for a brief period without inconveniencing the consumer. The device would continually monitor the power gird and, when event-level fluctuations were identified, could automatically turn the appliance off for up to a few minutes. If millions of these controllers were installed in household appliances across the country, the combined and instantaneous reduction of demand on an overloading grid could alleviate pressures on the grid that lead to major blackouts.

"PNNL's Grid-Friendly Appliance controller would provide a powerful safety net for the power grid," Lawrence said. "The controller is just one product of the laboratory's investment in science and technology that can be utilized to transform the energy system. The GridWise members recognize that 21st century science and technology offer the best hope for a solution to a problem that, if not properly addressed now, will plague us for many years."

The alliance will be accepting additional members who are willing to commit to advancing the GridWise vision and to implementing this vision. The alliance already has begun developing strategic relationships with key federal agencies, including DOE.

Business inquiries on PNNL research and technologies should be directed to 1-888-375-PNNL or e-mail: inquiry@pnl.gov.

 

Tags: Energy

Battelle is the world's largest independent research and development organization. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide. Battelle has managed the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., since the laboratory's inception in 1965.

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