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DOE funds 12 projects to improve reliability of the U.S. electric grid

Staff writer ▼ | December 16, 2015
The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $33 million in funding for 12 projects as part of ARPA-E’s Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) program.
Electric grid
NODES   Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems
NODES project teams will develop technologies that coordinate load and generation on the electric grid to create a virtual energy storage system. The teams will develop innovative hardware and software solutions to integrate and coordinate generation, transmission, and end-use energy systems at various points on the electric grid.

These control systems will enable real-time coordination between distributed generation, such as rooftop and community solar assets and bulk power generation, while proactively shaping electric load. This will alleviate periods of costly peak demand, reduce wasted energy, and increase renewables penetration on the grid.

“The NODES program continues ARPA-E’s commitment to investing in technologies that can provide options for our energy infrastructure and its arising operational challenges,” said ARPA-E Director Dr. Ellen D. Williams.

“The research and development of these grid control technologies will make the concept of virtual energy storage a practical reality. The result will enhance the resiliency, security and flexibility of our nation’s electric grid and allow the U.S. to make the best use of its abundant renewable energy resources.”

The NODES program aims to create a new approach to management of the two-way flow of power to and from homes and businesses that consume and deliver electricity back to the grid.

The resulting virtual energy storage will manage the intermittency of renewable energy, the lack of electricity production when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.

The expected benefits of these technologies include improving grid efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions in power generation, and significant savings of system costs.