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Where are the weak spots on the electric grid during an emergency? Instead of waiting for a power outage to find out, grid operators are using the Dynamic Contingency Analysis Tool (DCAT) to evaluate and get ahead of risks. Carl Imhoff leads PNNL’s grid modernization research and development program, which created DCAT and other technologies to advance clean, reliable, and secure power delivery in the United States. The program encompasses research on grid energy storage, microgrids, transmission planning, smart grid innovation, grid analytics, and other aspects of the power system.
“The United States is becoming more dependent on electricity for everything from analyzing data to powering electric cars,” Imhoff said. “It's strategic to our national future, both economically and competitively. The power grid will also be key to our pursuit of decarbonization goals.”
Imhoff and colleagues at PNNL are working on technologies to increase the flexibility of the power grid, including next-generation energy storage for making the most of fluctuating resources like wind and solar power.
“We need to build a power system that will accommodate all the new demands it will face while remaining resilient to all threats,” Imhoff said. “This will require new grid technologies and architecture, but it will also take new ways of working together between government and industry to deliver the power system we need.”
Imhoff also leads the Department of Energy's Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium, which brings together leading experts, technologies, and resources from 14 of the national labs to work collaboratively on key national challenges. In 2019, he appeared before the U.S. Senate to describe the work being done as part of this consortium and across Department of Energy to enhance grid security and resilience.
Imhoff received a 2021 Grid Innovator Award from the industry association GridForward, which recognized his long history of advancing grid modernization in the region and across the country. In addition, the editors of Smart Grid Today named him among 50 recognized smart grid pioneers in 2015. He has been active in electric power system organizations including the GridWise Alliance and the Western Electric Coordinating Council.
“Taking on Grid Modernization's Toughest Challenges.” October 29, 2019, TD World.