Listen to this article
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $26 million to fund projects demonstrating that America’s electricity grid can reliably run with a mix of solar, wind, energy storage, and other clean energy resources.
Termed the Solar and Wind Grid Services and Reliability Demonstration Program, it is funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The program will fund up to 10 projects on grid reliability and how a clean energy grid prevents blackouts by quickly identifying and responding to faults.
The projects must be of at least 10 MW in size from a mix of solar, wind, or other generation or storage technology.
The DOE says that over time, its investments into the grid have led to developing new tools to enable grid operators to manage the increasingly growing network. The electricity grid, originally built to deliver power from just a few large fossil fuel power plants to homes and businesses, now has evolved to have a mix of traditional and renewable energy sources, making grid stability the primary focus.
Stability can be achieved by developing and testing tools and plant functions that allow the grid to stay online amid disturbances and restart if it goes down. These tools must be demonstrated at a broader scale to increase their adoption and 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 can support the grid during normal and emergencies.
The demonstration projects will also provide data to underscore how President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2030 can be achieved while supporting grid reliability.
“Americans do not have to choose between a clean and reliable grid as we move forward towards our goals of a net-zero economy by 2050. DOE is proving that transitioning to renewable energy sources can keep the lights on without service interruptions while creating good paying jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
Academic institutions, private companies, non-profits, state and local governments, tribal nations, and all diverse under-represented teams are encouraged to apply.
To expand and strengthen America’s transmission lines and the power grid, DOE issued a request for information seeking public feedback on its $2.5 billion transmission lines program in June.
Recently, the administration approved two solar projects that will feed 400 MW of battery energy storage in California.