Through its Research, Development, and Deployment work, OE is pursuing technologies to improve grid reliability, efficiency, flexibility, functionality, and security; and making investments and sponsoring demonstrations aimed at bringing new and innovative technologies to maturity and helping them transition to market. It is essential that key stakeholders – including Federal and State government agencies, electric power companies, equipment manufacturers, systems developers, and consumers – work together toward a shared vision of the future, with full understanding of one another’s roles and responsibilities. As the primary office in the Federal government with stewardship responsibilities for electricity delivery, OE provides the leadership and continuity to align these resources, support research and development of new technologies and place them on a path to commercialization.

Within the next decade, proactive, coordinated, and innovative steps are needed to address four critical challenges:

  • Changes in demand driven by population growth, adoption of more energy efficient technologies, dynamic economic conditions, and broader electrification, including possible mass-markets for electric vehicles.
  • Changes in the supply mix (such as renewables, nuclear energy, natural gas, and coal) and location (centralized, distributed, and off-shore) of the Nation’s generation portfolio driven by technology, market, and policy developments.
  • Increasing variability and uncertainty from both supply and demand, including integration of variable renewables, more active consumer participation, and accommodating new technologies and techniques.
  • Increasing challenges to the reliability and security of the electric infrastructure (such as more frequent and intense extreme weather events, cyber and physical attacks, and interdependencies with natural gas and water).

Due to the critical role the electric grid plays in successfully implementing an energy strategy across Federal, state, and local jurisdictions, OE programs are working in an integrated manner, in partnership with industry and other stakeholders as well as other DOE offices, to enhance key characteristics of the U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems:

  • Reliability—consistent and dependable delivery of high quality power.
  • Flexibility—the ability to accommodate changing supply and demand patterns and new technologies.
  • Efficiency—low losses in electricity delivery and more optimal use of system assets.
  • Resiliency—the ability to withstand and quickly recover from disruptions and maintain critical function.
  • Affordability—more optimal deployment of assets to meet system needs and minimize costs.
  • Security—the ability to protect system assets and critical functions from unauthorized and undesirable actors.