DOE awards electric grid grants

The US Energy Department will provide more than $10m for projects that will improve the reliability and resiliency of the US electric grid, and facilitate quick and effective response to grid conditions.

Strengthening and expanding the electric system is a priority for the solar and wind industries and states in order to promote renewable energy development.

DOE’s investment will help further the deployment of advanced software that works with synchrophasor technology to better detect quickly-changing grid conditions and improve day-to-day grid reliability.

A synchrophasor, or phasor measurement unit, is a device which measures the electrical waves on an electricity grid using a common time source for synchronization. Time synchronization allows synchronized real-time measurements of multiple remote measurement points on the grid.

“Through advanced sensors and monitoring devices, US utilities now have unprecedented insight into the power grid – helping industry make decisions that may prevent power outages before they happen and adeptly respond to changing grid conditions without disruption,” says Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary for DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

“By partnering with utilities and software developers, the Energy Department can help the U.S. electric industry maintain more reliable and resilient power systems.”

By creating software that analyzes and visualizes the complex data captured by synchrophasors, these projects will help industry better leverage this new technology and maintain a strong and reliable power grid.

*Pacific Gas & Electric, $2.9m DOE investment; $3.9m recipient cost-share. California utility will leverage its existing synchrophasor software applications to further improve data quality validation and security, strengthen system-wide indicators, speed system restoration and advance its ability to conduct post-event analysis.

*Quanta Technology, $998,920 DOE investment; $1 million recipient cost-share. North Carolina firm will work with the New York Power Authority to develop and test a new software application that uses data from synchrophasors and other sensors simultaneously to provide fast, reliable and detailed visibility into the utility’s grid conditions.

*Electric Power Group of California, $908,613 DOE investment; $931,788 recipient cost-share. Company will expand grid operator training by developing additional simulator software to teach operators how to use synchrophasor data and incorporate these resources and tools into broader grid operations.  The new software module will be demonstrated and tested by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and Southern California Edison.

*Burns and McDonnell, $1.4m DOE investment; $1.5m recipient cost-share. Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the engineering company will develop software that uses synchrophasor data to monitor and analyze grid conditions in real-time. It will work with Southern Company to test the software at one of its control centers.

*Hawaiian Electric Company, $500,000 DOE investment; $500,000 recipient cost-share. It will incorporate synchrophasor data into its transmission and distribution modeling and system-wide data analysis efforts. The project will also evaluate new visualization techniques that use synchrophasor data to inform grid modernization activities.

*Peak reliability, $3.9m DOE investment; $4.8m recipient cost-share. Peak serves as the reliability coordinator in 14 western US states, British Columbia, and the northern portion of Baja California, Mexico. Through this project, Peak will use synchrophasors to develop automated controls and improve grid condition data delivery and quality.