Department of Energy

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Inaugural Electricity Industry Technology and Practices Innovation Challenge Winners

August 21, 2019

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity (OE), Bruce J. Walker, announced the winners of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) first “Electricity Industry Technology and Practices Innovation Challenge” (EITPIC). The challenge tapped into American ingenuity for ideas on how to make the nation’s electric grid stronger and more resilient. 

Through the challenge, DOE sought ideas from industry, academia, and other innovators for technologies or solutions that can address existing or emerging vulnerabilities and threats to the electric sector or mitigate interdependencies between the electricity sector and other sectors.

“Submissions for our inaugural challenge reflected ideas from the nation’s best and brightest in the electricity sector,” said Assistant Secretary Walker.  “From improving situational awareness in the power grid to incorporating technology, such as augmented reality into grid operations, to improving the speed and quality of data analytics, these innovators have developed ideas that could significantly improve today’s electric industry practices.  We look forward to seeing how today’s winners further develop and refine their award-winning ideas.”

DOE is awarding more than $300,000 to seven winning submissions in two tiers.  Tier I entries are more complex, with a greater level of maturity, and Tier II entries are less complex and more theoretical:

  • Southern California Edison, Tier I, Gold ($100,000) – Proposed virtualizing components of electric grid substations and operating them using a human machine interface. 
  • George Washington University, Tier I, Silver ($50,000) – Proposed developing a smart measurement unit (SMU) to measure and interpret existing phasor measurement unit (PMU) data at the source, rather than in the control room.  The SMU would provide event detection, classification, and measurements that would enhance existing sensors.
  • University of Houston, Tier I, Silver ($50,000) – Proposed enhancing existing energy management systems with a stochastic, security-constrained, economic-dispatch model that would better account for networked microgrids and flexible transmission.
  • Siemens Corporation, Tier I, Bronze ($35,000) – Proposed developing a green technologies digital companion that combines semantic technologies, machine learning, and augmented reality to give grid operators better visibility into the grid’s status. The companion could enable predictive capabilities through the use of different data sets such as weather and charging infrastructure.
  • International Business and Technology Service Corporation Tier II, Gold ($25,000) – Proposed using a small, low-cost wafer sensor, currently being used in other applications such as data storage, to measure current.  The device is small enough to be added to existing grid components such as PMUs or micro-PMUs.
  • Washington State University, Tier II, Gold ($25,000) – Proposed developing a data processing user interface to support quality of service-aware data-driven synchrophasor workflows resulting in reduced computational runtimes and hardware costs.
  • University of Houston, Tier II, Silver ($20,000) – Proposed a scenario-based, stochastic, long-term expansion planning strategy that addresses uncertainties, incorporates renewable power, and considers a large set of scenarios that are aggregated to reduce computational complexity in current transmission planning models.

    To learn more about the winners, their proposed innovations, and the next challenge, visit https://www.energy.gov/oe/activities/eitpic.

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