- The U.S. Department of Energy this week unveiled awards of up to $50 million to the agency's national laboratories, focusing on early stage research and development of grid resiliency and cybersecurity tools.
- More than $20 million will be earmarked for national labs and partners to support creation of next-generation tools and technologies that will strengthen the United States' electric grid and oil and gas infrastructure from cyber threats.
- In addition, about $30 million over three years will go towards DOE's Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium to research resilient distribution systems, focusing on the integration of clean distributed energy resources, advanced controls, grid architecture, and emerging technologies at a regional scale.
The list of projects tapped by the DOE for funding reads like a shopping list of grid-edge development: microgrids, distributed resources, cyber-attack-resilient architecture, low-cost cryptography and inverter-dominated islanding.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry called the nation's power grid "essential" to the United States' security, economy, and vital services. Dozens of projects will receive funding.
“As round-the-clock efforts continue to help communities recover from the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the need to continue strengthening and improving our electricity delivery system to withstand and recover from disruptions has become even more compelling," he said in a statement.
At Argonne National Laboratory, partnering with the Illinois Institute of Technology, researchers will seek to develop a "cyber-attack-resilient architecture for next-generation electricity distribution systems that increase reliability by using distributed energy resources and microgrids."
At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, scientists will seek to "enable distribution grids to adapt to resist a cyber-attack," either though new adaptive control algorithms for distributed resources and voltage regulation, or by analyzing attack scenarios and developing "associated defensive strategies."
The largest funding will go to a three-year resiliency project managed by Idaho National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington. They'll work on Resilient Alaskan Distribution System Improvements using Automation, Network Analysis, Control, and Energy Storage, or RADIANCE.
Funded at $6.2 million for three years, researchers are seeking to "enhance the resilience methods for distribution grids under harsh weather, cyber-threats, and dynamic grid conditions using multiple networked microgrids, energy storage, and early-stage grid technologies."
The expectation, DOE says, is that utilizing "zonal approaches in multiple loosely and tightly networked microgrids will increase the resilience and resources on the grid."