The US Department of Energy (DoE) this week announced it will provide funding of up to US$220m to projects aiming modernising the country’s grid.According to Clean Technica, the funding will be channelled to more than 80 smart grid projects “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,” within the next three years.
Announcing the department’s plan, Ernest Moniz, Secretary for the US Energy department said: “Modernizing the US electrical grid is essential to reducing carbon emissions, creating safeguards against attacks on our infrastructure, and keeping the lights on.
“Our Quadrennial Energy Review and Quadrennial Technology Review identified needs and opportunities to invest in the grid,” he continued.
The new Grid Modernization Initiative is the DOE’s attempt to “solve the challenges of integrating conventional and renewable sources with energy storage and smart building.”
Smart grid research
The DOE said the University of California, Arizona State University, Stanford University, General Electric Global Research and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are amongst the recipients to recieve funding.
The disbursements, under the Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems programme, aim to develop grid control technologies to create a virtual energy storage system to manage the intermittency of renewable energy.
Through smart grid control systems, the DOE believes utilities will achieve real-time coordination between distributed generation and bulk power generation, while shaping electric load resulting in alleviation of costly peak demand periods and reduced wasted energy.
In late October, 2015 the US department of Agriculture (USDA) also announced a loan package of U$2.3 billion to build and improve rural electric infrastructure in 31 US states.
Commenting on the development, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said USDA was awarding loans to 77 utilities and cooperatives.
The funding included more than US$108 million for smart grid technology, US$41 million for renewable energy improvements and US$9 million for storm damage repairs.
USDA said the loans will help build or improve 12,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines.