DOE Plans to Pour Money into Grid Efficiency

The Department of Energy plans to invest up to $50 million over five years in nine demonstration projects competitively selected to increase efficiency in the nation's electricity grid, said Kevin Kolevar, assistant secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

The timeline is fiscal years 2008 to 2012, and the investment is subject to congressional appropriation.

The Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration (RDSI) technologies demonstrated in these projects aim to reduce peak load electricity demand by at least 15 percent at distribution feeders—the power lines delivering electricity to consumers—and are part of the Bush Administration's ongoing efforts to enhance the efficiency and reliability of the nation's energy infrastructure.

The projects were selected in response to an April 2007 Funding Opportunity Announcement seeking applications for research and development activities to improve the security of controls systems for energy delivery and increase the use of distributed generation during peak load periods. Negotiations will begin immediately to determine final project plans and funding levels.

Selected projects include:

•Allegheny Power will develop the "West Virginia Super Circuit" with sixth partners. They will improve distribution system performance, reliability, and security of electric supply through the integration of distributed resources and advanced technologies. (Duration: 5 years; Cost: $5.4 million federal/$4 million non-federal)

•ATK Launch Systems, along with partners Rocky Mountain Power and P&E AUTOMATION, will demonstrate load reduction through an integrated network of diverse renewable generation technologies and intelligent automation.

• Chevron Energy Solutions and partners will collaborate on significantly reducing peak load and measurably improve power reliability at the Santa Rita Jail.

• The city of Fort Collins and its team will research, develop, and demonstrate a 3.5 megawatt coordinated and integrated system of Mixed Distributed Resources in Fort Collins to achieve a 20-30 percent peak load reduction on multiple distribution feeders.

• Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc., and others will develop and demonstrate methodologies to achieve true interoperability between a delivery company and end-use retail electric customers, enhancing the reliability of the distribution grid and the efficiency of its operations.

• The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and its team will develop and demonstrate a system that will achieve "perfect power" at the main campus of IIT through the implementation of distributed resources, advanced sensing, switching, feeder reconfiguration, and controls.

• San Diego Gas and Electric and its team will develop a dispatchable distribution feeder for peak load reduction and wind-farming.

• The University of Hawaii and its partners will explore the management of distribution system resources for improved service quality and reliability, transmission congestion relief, and grid support functions.

• The University of Nevada will collaborate with others to address the construction of energy-efficient homes that overcome electricity grid integration, control, and communications issues by building integrated photovoltaic systems, battery energy storage, and consumer products linked to advanced meters that enable and facilitate an efficient response to consumer energy demands.

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