The Office of Electricity (OE) leads the Department’s efforts to ensure the nation’s critical energy infrastructure is secure and able to recover rapidly from disruptions. Below are some of OE’s recent accomplishments. To learn more about how OE is harnessing innovation for a stronger, more reliable North American energy system and a path forward to energy independence, visit the OE website’s blog and News section.

OFFICE OF ELECTRICITY KEY 2021 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • LONG DURATION STORAGE ENERGY EARTHSHOT: In July 2021, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Long Duration Storage Energy Earthshot. The initiative establishes a target to reduce the cost of grid-scale energy storage by 90 percent for systems that deliver 10+ hours of duration within the decade. Developing the technology and manufacturing to reach the Long Duration Storage Shot cost targets will establish a new, U.S.-based manufacturing industry for storage products. In September 2021, in conjunction with World Energy Storage Day, DOE held a series of events to engage communities, industry, and other stakeholders, including a Long Duration Storage Shot Summit.
  • ENERGY STORAGE: OE’s Energy Storage program demonstrated a kW-scale prototype stack of aqueous soluble organic flow battery technology operating at 225 mA/cm², a 50 percent improvement over the FY 2020 target and capable of meeting a $200/kWh cost target for a 1MW/4MWh system.
  • GRID STORAGE LAUNCHPAD: In March 2021, DOE announced the beginning of the design and construction of the Grid Storage Launchpad (GSL), a $75 million facility located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington that will boost clean energy adaptation and accelerate the development and deployment of long-duration, low-cost grid energy storage. The GSL supports DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge, which draws on the extensive research capabilities of DOE’s National Laboratories, universities, and industry to accelerate the development of energy-storage technologies and sustain American global leadership in the energy storage technologies of the future and a secure domestic manufacturing supply chain.
  • ENERGY STORAGE FOR SOCIAL EQUITY: OE launched the Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative to assist up to 15 underserved and frontline communities in leveraging energy storage to increase resilience and lower energy burdens, helping to deliver affordable electricity to disadvantaged communities.
  • ENERGY STORAGE GRAND CHALLENGE ROADMAP: In December 2020, DOE released the Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap, the Department’s first comprehensive energy storage strategy. The Roadmap’s approach includes accelerating the transition of technologies from the lab to the marketplace, focusing on ways to competitively manufacture technologies at scale in the United States, and ensuring secure supply chains to enable domestic manufacturing. The Roadmap includes an aggressive but achievable goal: to develop and domestically manufacture energy storage technologies that can meet all U.S. market demands by 2030.
  • ENERGY STORAGE SBIR PROJECTS ON BATTERY SAFETY: OE completed four Phase I SBIR projects that developed innovative methods to ensure safety and reliability for grid scale li-ion batteries. Targeted improvements in areas such as failure detection and thermal management systems in batteries can help avoid dangerous conditions that may result in fires and in extreme cases explosions. Innovations in this area are crucial to ensuring that battery operators, first responders, and utilities can prevent or safely respond to battery system failures.
  • WILDFIRE MITIGATION: In April 2021, OE sponsored a series of Wildfire Mitigation webinars. With almost 1,200 participants for all 4 webinars combined and with high-profile speakers like U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (OR), the webinar series was designed to enable the rapid transfer or deployment of mature Lab capabilities. The presentations and transcripts from the webinar series are available. In addition, several promising laboratory and industry developed technologies are being piloted to enhance wildfire prevention, mitigation, and response.
  • PUERTO RICO RECOVERY EFFORTS: Through an interagency agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, following a series of extreme weather events, DOE provided technical assistance to Puerto Rico entities around energy recovery and resilience. Activities included the initial microgrid design and analysis for Puerto Rico’s Island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, with workshops for community leaders to present results and build capacity around the resilience benefits of microgrids; and supporting the Puerto Rico Department of Housing as they plan and implement over $2 billion dollars in disaster recovery and mitigation block grants for the electrical system enhancements, including training for installers and homeowners that will participate in a residential solar and energy storage installations program.
  • MICROGRID: The Microgrid program completed simulation testing of integrated software capabilities for resilient distribution design and restoration control on a distribution utility feeder circuit, and developed a methodology to quantify the resilience value under extreme weather and cyberphysical events.
  • DISTRIBUTED ENERGY RESOURCE TECHNOLOGIES: OE’s Resilient Distribution System program successfully developed cost-effective technologies to increase the utilization of clean distributed energy resources (DERs) demonstrating the feasibility of using microgrid building blocks as fundamental units for microgrids to reduce costs and project implementation time, focusing on integration of power conversion and microgrid communication and control as a standard, modular unit and developing the Beyond Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) software platform to provide automated scheduling of DERs to offset costs associated with peak loads. The DERMS platform successfully demonstrated the integration of over 300 DERs with two utility partners for peak load reduction and load shaping for real-time energy price arbitrage.
  • TRANSMISSION INNOVATION: In March 2021, OE hosted a Transmission Innovation Symposium focused on modernizing the U.S. power grid. The symposium featured presentations and panel discussions about five DOE-commissioned white papers on transmission R&D priorities, featuring the technologies required to address current and future challenges facing transmission infrastructure. The white papers guided a dialogue focused on preparing the industry for the transmission system of the future.
  • TRANSFORMER RESILIENCE AND ADVANCED COMPONENTS (TRAC): The TRAC program is developing tools and technologies that enable the next generation of grid hardware to be more adaptive, more flexible, self-healing, resilient to all-hazards, reliable, and cost-effective compared to technologies available today, and maximizes the value and lifetimes of current grid components. Specifically, a Smart Universal Power Electronics Regulator (SUPER) was successfully designed, prototyped, and evaluated. The SUPER is an advanced power electronics building block for future sub-distribution scale substation applications.
  • TRAC SBIR PROJECTS FOR ENHANCED GRID OPERATIONS: Two Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects were successfully completed under the TRAC program. Terves Inc. developed a prototype low-mass magnesium-based conductor for use in transmission infrastructure, and when deployed, promises a low-cost, high-strength alternative that will reduce system losses, improve system resilience, and decrease costs. Achillea Research developed a scalable method to optimize Flexible AC Transmission System controller placement, enhancing power flows across the entire grid to increase system efficiency and reducing customer rates, enabling an affordable scenario under deep renewable penetration.
  • GE FLEXIBLE TRANSFORMER ENERGIZATION: In November 2021, GE and Cooperative Energy announced the energization of the world’s first flexible transformer that adapts to a range of voltage ratios and impedance levels. Flexible transformers significantly reduce the manufacturing cost and time needed for today’s custom-made transformers. By allowing damaged transformers to be replaced more quickly, flexible transformers will be an important tool in increasing the grid’s resilience to extreme weather events or cyber incidents. GE and Cooperative Energy began testing the transformer at a substation in Columbia, Mississippi on September 3, 2021. OE supported this effort through an FY18 FOA where the project was awarded $2.4 million.
  • CONDUCTIVITY-ENHANCED MATERIALS FOR AFFORDABLE BREAKTHROUGH LEAPFROG ELECTRIC AND TERMAL APPLICATIONS (CABLE) INITIATIVE:OE partnered with DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) on the CABLE initiative. As part of CABLE, AMO and OE released a joint FY 2021 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) subtopic on conductors and cables with advanced properties such as increased conductivity, high strength, and low cost to improve electricity delivery infrastructure. Such advanced cables increase resilience and lower infrastructure cost for transmission owners, improve reliability and reduce rates for customers, and enable the reliable delivery of large amounts of renewable power for emissions reductions and climate goals. Two SBIR awardees were selected: QuesTek Innovations, developing high-strength aluminum conductors for overhead transmission lines, and Mainstream Engineering, developing carbon nanotube-infused copper conductors for underground and offshore wind applications.
  • PRESIDENTIAL PERMITS: OE led the review and consultation for two transmission Presidential permits resulting in issuance of both permits. These two projects culminated in the potential for the addition of a total of nearly 500 miles of new transmission line (over 300 miles of which would be undergrounded) and 2,450 megawatt of electric transmission capacity, which will reduce a combined 7.5 million metric tons annually of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • NORTH AMERICAN ENERGY RESILIENCY MODEL (NAERM): OE has developed the platform for NAERM, a first-of-a-kind advanced modeling and analysis tool focusing on the Nation’s energy infrastructure and interdependent systems. OE continues to demonstrate its capabilities internally and externally to other Federal agencies and stakeholders.
  • REGULATORY AND PERMITTING INFORMATION DESKTOP (RAPID) TOOLKIT: OE expanded the Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop (RAPID) Toolkit to include information on Clean Air Act (CAA) compliance for bulk transmission project development in all 50 states. The RAPID Toolkit facilitates communication between project developers, permitting agencies at all jurisdiction levels, and project stakeholders—including the public. The expansion will enhance understanding of CAA permitting processes and compliance for constructing electric transmission facilities in the United States.
  • EMERGENCY ORDERS ISSUED PURSUANT TO SECTION 202(C) OF THE FEDERAL POWER ACT: In 2021OE led the development and authorization for two orders for emergency authorizations to allow for excess generation to be utilized in response to grid emergencies occurring in Texas in February and California in September. This helped keep the electricity flowing to many homes and businesses during extreme weather events.
  • ENERGY-WATER-CLIMATE CHANGE NEXUS: OE continued providing technical assistance in the energy-water-climate change nexus portfolio which resulted in the completion and publication of important research with and for two critical partners, the Western Electricity Coordinating Council and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
  • ELECTRICITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE: In 2021, DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC) provided recommendations to the Secretary of Energy about big data analytics, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 2222, State and Federal coordination needs, and the development of a five year energy storage plan. Recommendations from the EAC are an important component of DOE’s strategy to improve its research and development portfolio and program activities.

Past Accomplishments

Office of Electricity (OE) Key Accomplishments in 2020
The Office of Electricity (OE) leads the Department’s efforts to ensure the nation’s critical energy infrastructure is secure and able to recover rapidly from disruptions.
Office of Electricity (OE) Accomplishments in 2019 and 2018
Brief highlights of OE's accomplishments in 2019 and 2018
Office of Electricity (OE) Accomplishments in 2017
Brief highlights of OE accomplishments in 2017