Office of Electricity

Department of Energy Announces Investment to Strengthen the Resilience of the Nation’s Power Grid

June 8, 2018

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Office of Electricity's Funding to Support Innovative Research for the Development of the Next Generation of Large Power Transformers

WASHINGTON, DC –  Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity released a $7.5 million funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to spur the innovative design of large power transformers (LPTs) that will be more flexible and adaptable, thereby increasing the resilience of the Nation’s power grid. Transformers are fundamental to the grid, with essentially all electricity generated and delivered flowing through these devices. Under this FOA, the Office of Electricity’s Transformer Resilience and Advanced Components (TRAC) Program will seek applications to conduct research and development (R&D) leading to transformers that can be shared and replaced more easily in the event of a failure as well as increase its cyber-physical security.

“A resilient, reliable, and secure power grid is vital to the Nation’s security, economy, and the services that Americans depend on every day,” said Bruce J. Walker, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Electricity and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response at the U.S. Department of Energy. “We must continue our relentless pursuit of innovation to protect the Nation’s critical energy infrastructure from natural disasters such as hurricanes as well as cyber and physical attacks and to increase the speed of recovery after an outage has occurred. This investment in advancing solutions for these critical grid components is another important step in addressing the emerging threats of tomorrow while protecting the reliable flow of energy to Americans today.”

LPTs can weigh hundreds of tons, cost millions of dollars, and are typically custom-made with procurement lead times of one year or more. Generally tailored to customer specifications, these transformers are not readily interchangeable with each other, and their high costs prohibit extensive spare inventories. In addition, many are approaching or exceeding their design lives, presenting an opportunity for next-generation transformers that can provide new capabilities needed in the future grid.

This FOA is intended to stimulate new designs that are more flexible and adaptable. Prototypes developed under this FOA must be able to demonstrate high efficiency, variable/controllable impedance, and the ability to accommodate a range of high-side and low-side voltages. Sensors, communications, and analytics that enhance the operation and performance of the final LPT should also be integrated into the prototype and assessed. Projects are expected to involve hardware development, testing and model validation, and modeling and analysis to evaluate the performance and economics of proposed designs.

The due date for submitting an application is July 25, 2018.

More information on the FOA is available HERE. More information about DOE’s efforts to improve the resilience of the Nation’s critical energy infrastructure is available HERE. More information about DOE’s emergency preparedness and coordinated response to disruptions to the energy sector, including physical and cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and man-made events is available HERE.