Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $39 million for projects across DOE's National Laboratories to help modernize the electricity grid. This investment from the 2023 Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI) lab call will support the development and deployment of concepts, tools, and technologies needed to measure, analyze, predict, protect, and control the grid of the future while incorporating equity and the best available climate science.

The electric grid faces increasingly complex and interdependent challenges. The projects announced today led by DOE’s world-class national laboratories will help ensure the best available solutions are used to equitably deliver resilient, reliable, clean, and affordable electricity across the country.

The selected projects are:

  • Medium Voltage Resource Integration Technologies (MERIT). The project led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) intends to develop modular, cost-effective, and scalable technologies at medium voltage (4.16 kV to 34.5 kV) that will reliably integrate a range of distributed energy resources (solar, wind, fuel cells, etc.) on to the grid. Success metrics include over 97% efficiency, a 40-year lifetime, and less than 10% down-time.
  • Assessment and Coordination of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Cybersecurity Standards. This project led by Sandia National Laboratories will work to implement and harmonize cybersecurity requirements and testing across the electric vehicle (EV) charging ecosystem. In coordination with the Biden Administration’s National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technology, this project will work with the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, the DOE/DOT Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, and states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to introduce new cybersecurity requirements related to EV chargers. The end products of this effort will be a standardized set of testing requirements for EVSE equipment and a “Security Star” EV Charging System Cybersecurity Certification Program (inspired by "Energy Star").
  • Assessment and Coordination of DER Cyber Security Standards. This team led by NREL will work to assess, develop, refine, implement, and harmonize the multiple, potentially conflicting cybersecurity requirements established by standardization bodies for the distributed energy ecosystem. This project will also coordinate with the Biden Administration’s National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technology to enhance safe and secure distributed energy systems providing clean power nationwide. The end products of this effort will be a cybersecurity certification program and standard, along with standardized set of testing requirements for distributed energy resources.
  • Assessment of Communication Architectures for Energy Systems (ACAES). This team led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will conduct a sophisticated analysis to identify and suggest ways to mitigate gaps in technology, standards, and processes for communications across the electric grid. The team will also create a large library of potential cyber-attack scenarios, including their operational consequences, to support and future cybersecurity training and planning. Lastly this team will use this information to provide recommendations for new and improved technology, standards, and practices to address potential risks and help ensure a grid with high DER penetration is secure.
  • Grid Research, Integration, and Deployment for Quantum (GRID-Q). This project led by ORNL will lay the groundwork to establish one or more first-of-its kind power grid testing facilities with quantum capabilities. The team will also conduct research to identify and/or better understand specific use cases for quantum computing, communication, and sensing on the power grid. These activities will accelerate the transfer of quantum technologies to commercial use in support of a more resilient, reliable, and secure electric grid.
  • Advancing Equity in Grid Planning and Operations​. This project led by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) and PNNL will support states and other entities that want to incorporate equity in energy planning and operations. The team will convene key stakeholders to identify and prioritize emerging grid and equity issues, update LBNL and PNNL’s equity database, develop an online research platform to make existing research more easily accessible to the public, conduct research related to identified gaps, and provide technical assistance to states and others on grid-equity related questions.  
  • Enhanced Modeling to Ensure Equitable Power System Operations and Planning​. This team led by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and NREL will identify and prioritize new metrics, datasets and methods that would help improve consideration of energy equity in power system models. It will then work to implement a subset of these enhancements with relevant stakeholders to improve decision making and equity outcomes.  
  • Aligning Climate Analysis for Power Systems (ALCAPS) and Climate Resilient Equitable Resource Planning (CRERP). This project led by NREL will take multiple approaches to integrate acute and chronic effects of climate change across a suite of energy sector planning and risk management tools. This project team will do this by connecting, expanding, and enhancing established methodologies such as generative machine learning and supply modeling in order to study possible stresses on the energy system caused by climate change. This includes efforts to better understand of the impacts of extreme weather on available wind, solar and hydropower resources as well as energy demand, implications for siting of renewable energy and transmission, and potential climate-driven changes in water availability for energy related needs including thermal cooling.
  • Critical Analysis of Severe Climate Events (CASCDE): A Framework to Determine Power System Impacts to Enhance Resilience. This project led by ANL will combine the expertise of DOE’s national labs with top forecasting and assessment solutions from the private sector to improve energy planning for extreme weather and boost grid resilience. This project will accompany ALCAPS and CRERP by using validated methods to forecast the likelihood of extreme weather events, as well as their impact to power markets and grid operations. The team will then seek to understand the benefits and outcomes of potential grid investments and energy market planning that incorporates this information. Finally, they will work with utilities and other key stakeholders to build and refine tools and approaches and establish an industry standard for assessing climate risk and optimizing grid infrastructure investments for extreme events.

The project announced today also include support from Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, National Energy Technology Laboratory, and dozens of public and private sector partners.

GMI works across DOE to create the modern grid of the future. An extensive, reliable power grid has fueled America’s growth since the early 1900s; however, the grid of today does not have the attributes necessary to meet the demands of the 21st century and beyond. GMI works with public and private partners to develop the concepts, tools, and technologies needed to measure, analyze, predict, protect, and control the grid of the future. GMI’s portfolio of work, includes over $350 million in research and development since 2016, and helps to integrate all sources of electricity better, improve the security of our nation's grid, solve challenges of energy storage and distributed generation, and provide a critical platform for U.S. competitiveness and innovation in a global energy economy. 

These projects are funded by DOE's offices of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response; Electricity; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Fossil Energy and Carbon Management; and the Grid Deployment Office. GMI is also supported by DOE's offices of Economic Impact and Diversity, Nuclear Energy, Science, and Technology Transitions, as well as the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium, a strategic partnership between DOE’s National Laboratories to bring together leading experts, technologies, and resources to collaborate on the goal of modernizing the nation’s grid.