Office of Electricity

OE Announces Investment in New Research to Address Risk and Uncertainty in the Grid

August 25, 2016

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Today, as part of the Energy Department’s commitment to a reliable and resilient power grid, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) is investing nearly $1.8 million in fundamental research to address the risk and uncertainty of the power system. This support will allow academic institutions in California, Iowa, New York, and Texas to perform research in one or more of three areas that are changing the electricity markets:  wholesale market operations, transmission system design, and demand-side participation.

Today’s announcement is another important piece of our commitment to helping ensure the reliable, resilient, efficient, and secure delivery of electricity to America’s businesses and consumers. OE has a long history of supporting cutting edge research and working with U.S. colleges and universities to educate future scientists and engineers. Both are needed to continue improving the reliability of America’s power grid and help ensure that the energy sector has the advanced technologies, methods, and approaches needed to build the power grid of the future. 

This investment is part of the Energy Department’s Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI), a comprehensive effort to help shape the future of our nation’s grid and solve the challenges of integrating conventional and renewable sources with energy storage and smart buildings, while ensuring that the grid is resilient and secure to withstand growing cybersecurity and climate challenges. Through the GMI, the Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP) and the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium, the Department will help frame new grid architecture design elements, develop new planning and real-time operations platforms, provide metrics and analytics to improve grid performance, and enhance government and industry capabilities for designing the infrastructure and regulatory models needed for successful grid modernization.

The five projects selected for awards are outlined below.  Final award amounts are subject to negotiation.

Recipient: The Regents of the University of California
Project Title: Economical and Engineering Aspects of Proactive Demand Participation: Centralized versus Bilateral Control Structure
Location:  Riverside, CA

The University of California (UC) will develop control algorithms to coordinate the operations of flexible loads and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), encourage customer participation, and evaluate the impacts of demand-side participation on power system operations.   UC will validate these algorithms using small-scale campus demonstrations and large-scale computer simulations.  The experience gained through these development, validation, and demonstration efforts will provide valuable guidance to Regional Transmission Organizations/Independent System Operators (RTOs/ISOs) and electric utilities in designing systems and establishing policies with respect to distribution system operator managed markets. 

DOE Funds:                   $360,000
Cost Share:                    $90,000
Total Project Value:       $450,000

Recipient: Iowa State University of Science and Technology
Project Title: Flexible Service Contracting for Risk Management within Integrated Transmission and Distribution Systems
Location: Ames, IA

Iowa State University will investigate options for Distribution Resource Aggregators to make use of swing contracts that permit greater flexibility in real-time implementation by offering services defined as a range of values rather than as point values to ensure the availability and real-time provision of flexible services.  The outcome of this project will be an advanced business model that will provide a new, robust control approach to the management of integrated Transmission and Distribution system risks/uncertainties that does not require detailed scenario and probability specifications or reliance on overly conservative worst-case scenario designs.

DOE Funds:                        $334,903
Cost Share:                         $98,151
Total Project Value:            $433,054

Recipient: Cornell University
Project Title: Management of risk and uncertainty through optimized co-operation of transmission systems and microgrids with responsive loads
Location: Ithaca, NY

Cornell University will develop a scalable co-optimization solution for transmission and microgrids that includes demand response, storage, and renewable resources.  This solution will incorporate realistic modeling and integration of responsive demand in the low-voltage system to assist in the management of uncertainty in the transmission system induced by renewable generation sources and contingencies.  Expected outcomes are a performance comparison of renewable output forecasting/scenario generation methods, a comprehensive framework for the interplay between the micro and macro grids, an analysis of the impacts of different demand response strategies on power grid operation, and an analysis of the performance of combined stochastic decomposition methods to tackle the integration problem of responsive demand in the low voltage system.

DOE Funds:                          $360,000
Cost Share:                           $90,680
Total Project Value:              $450,680

Recipient: Clarkson University
Project Title: Multi-Stage and Multi-Timescale Robust Co-Optimization Planning for Reliable and Sustainable Power Systems
Location: Potsdam, NY

Clarkson University will develop a decision-support tool that augments existing power utility capabilities to support collaborative planning, analysis, and implementation of emerging variable and distributed power systems and help effectively mitigate risks and uncertainties in both short-term operation and long-term policy/technology changes.   This tool will assist power market participants, utilities and regulatory agencies in analyzing economic, reliability, and sustainability issues when considering options for planning new and upgraded transmission facilities to accommodate existing and emerging generation sources. 

DOE Funds:                         $360,000
Cost Share:                          $100,229
Total Project Value:             $460,229

Recipient: The University of Texas at Austin
Project Title: Models and Strategies for Optimal Demand Side Management in the Chemical Industries
Location:  Austin, TX

The University of Texas (UT) project focuses on potential demand response from the chemical/petro refining facilities in the Gulf region of the United States.  These refinery loads are substantial, accounting for approximately 30% of the power consumed by industry that is provided by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).  Similar methods of encouraging large industries to participate in load shedding and/or load shifting activities in the ERCOT region and beyond would have significant benefits for the utilities that adopt these measures.  UT intends to demonstrate these benefits by developing models and methods, based on historical operating data, that will create new pricing and other incentives to encourage industry participation.  This research will lead to generic tools and methodologies that are applicable to all manufacturing facilities in the chemical and petrochemical sector, and can be extended to other industries.   

DOE Funds:                         $360,000
Cost Share:                          $92,689
Total Project Value:             $452,689