The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $26 million to fund projects that will conclusively show that electricity grid can reliably run with a mix of solar, wind, energy storage, and other clean distributed energy resources (DER).
Solar and Wind Grid Services and Reliability Demonstration. Credit: DOE
Using money from the infrastructure law, the new program called Solar and Wind Grid Services and Reliability Demonstration launched on August 2. DOE said the demonstration projects will provide data to underscore how President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2030 can be achieved while supporting grid reliability. Up to 10 projects will receive funding.
Grid services, which largely involves maintaining the voltage and frequency stability, are critical to maintain reliability. Because new wind and solar generation are interfaced with the grid through power electronic inverters, they have different characteristics and dynamics than traditional sources of generation that currently supply these services. Demonstrating that a grid fully powered by inverter-based resources is as reliable or more reliable at providing these services is a key barrier to the clean energy transition.
Projects in this funding opportunity will support the development of controls and methods for inverter-based resources like solar and wind to provide the same grid services as traditional generation. The research activities resulting from this funding opportunity will help increase the reliability of energy systems, which will help meet the Biden administration’s goals for achieving a decarbonised electricity sector by 2035.
The funding opportunity is looking for two different types of projects.
The first funding opportunity is focused on large-scale wind and solar plus long-duration storage all connected to the bulk power system. These projects will need to develop centralised and/or autonomous local controls that demonstrate the feasibility of these facilities to reliably respond to operational commands and schedules in the existing bulk power grid.
The second is focused on protection schemes for the bulk power system to determine how they respond to faults in situations where there are large amounts of inverter-based resources. Projects will be expected to advance protection modeling and simulation capabilities and to develop technologies and strategies to maintain transmission grid reliability at any level of inverter-based generation.
Utilities, laboratories, equipment manufacturers, software vendors, engineering firms, and universities (including community colleges) are encouraged to apply to this funding opportunity. Under all topics, teams that include multiple partners are preferred over applications that include a single organisation.
Systems integration research at DOE has led to the development of new tools that enable grid operators to manage the grid. This award hopes to demonstrate how those tools can be used on a broader scale to build trust as grid operators face a growing number of disruptions, such as cyberattacks, extreme weather events and wildfires. To achieve a clean power sector, clean energy sources such as solar and wind generation and energy storage must prove that they are able to support the grid during normal as well as emergency situations, said DOE in a press release.
The solar energy technologies office will host an informational webinar on Aug 17 at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Register for the webinar.
Mandatory concept papers are due by September 1 at 5 p.m. ET.
“Americans do not have to choose between a clean grid and a reliable one as we move forward towards our goals of a net-zero economy by 2050,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE is proving that transitioning to solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources can keep the lights on without service interruptions, while creating good paying jobs.”