WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity (OE) today issued a $4.8 million Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for innovative distribution system communications technologies to ensure a secure electricity grid. Projects selected will receive up to $2.4 million in OE funding to support the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of technologies that ensure distribution system operators can securely communicate electricity data and manage resource deployment at the grid edge.

The grid edge is where utility service ends and customer equipment starts. Specifically, the grid edge begins at customers’ meter points and includes their own equipment, software, and controls. Examples include rooftop solar systems, electric vehicle charging stations, and energy storage.

The U.S. energy system depends heavily on communications networks, but the grid’s evolution to include more distributed energy resources such as grid edge equipment imposes greater demand on these networks—and greater associated information security risks. This funding will help U.S. electric utilities jumpstart the RD&D for secure distribution system information systems.

“As we work to modernize the U.S. electricity grid, security must be built into the future architecture, rather than ‘bolted on’ afterwards,” said Gene Rodrigues, Assistant Secretary for Electricity. “Secure communications systems at the grid edge are an indispensable part of America’s 21st century grid.”

Interested parties may apply for this funding at FedConnect. Applications are due March 18, 2024. OE is expected to announce the selectees in July 2024 with the awards going out in September 2024.

The Office of Electricity leads DOE’s work in developing a resilient, reliable, secure, and affordable electricity grid of the future. Learn more about the office’s work