January 20, 2016

Modern Grid, Massive Potential

PNNL involved in 40 projects as part of sweeping national effort toward power grid modernization


Our nation's power system is facing a myriad of new challenges and opportunities. In order to meet new demands and priorities, the electric grid is in need of major upgrades. Announced in January, the Department of Energy's Offices of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability and Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy are funding that effort that to the tune of $220 million.

PNNL, a co-lead for DOE's Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC), will be involved in 40 of the resulting research projects. They include:

  • Grid Architecture — Create a new grid architecture or "big picture" of the grid and how each minute part affects the others. Developing this architecture with industry leaders will help inform decisions about proposed changes to the grid in this modernization effort to ensure no unintended consequences result.
  • Control Theory — Develop the mathematical underpinnings needed to provide effective and stable control mechanisms that will enable millions of distributed storage and generation resources, like batteries and solar power, to ensure grid reliability.
  • Standards for Grid Services — Develop protocols to test how distributed smart devices can help balance supply and demand to maintain proper frequency and voltage required for grid stability.
  • Foundational Analysis — Develop a "dash-board" of performance metrics for industry and policy makers to better measure the technical progress of grid modernization in improving resiliency, security, flexibility, sustainability, and affordability.

"The consortium is tackling the profound and unprecedented scope, scale and pace of change facing our power grid in light of increasing use of clean energy sources, the need for new business and market structures, the opportunities presented by new sensors and high performance computing, and the increasingly active participation of consumers and devices at the fringe of the grid like distributed storage and generation," said Carl Imhoff, PNNL's Electricity Infrastructure manager and co-lead for the GMLC.

For more information on PNNL’s grid modernization efforts, read the news release.


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science. For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Published: January 20, 2016