DOE pledges $11 million to upgrade U.S. electrical grid

Duke proposes electrical grid modernization.
Duke proposes electrical grid modernization. | Courtesy of Duke Energy
The Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) recently pledged $11 million in funding late last week for seven projects to develop data repositories and open-access models to upgrade the U.S. electric grid.

ARPA-E’s new program, Generating Realistic Information for the Development of Distribution and Transmission Algorithms (GRID DATA), comes on the heels of the DOE’s comprehensive new Grid Modernization Multi-Year Program Plan, recently unveiled.

“Improving the resiliency and reliability of the U.S. electric grid is vital to our nation’s energy future,” ARPA-E Director Ellen Williams said. “Developing new power system models will help to move our nation towards a more reliable, safe and secure grid of the future.”

While new algorithms exploring how to best use power on the electric grid exist, they aren't able to be used because current testing models are old, inaccurate or incomplete. Testing models that utilize real data from the power grid are a security risk and possible invasion of privacy, and are therefore unusable. To circumvent these issues, the GRID data program will develop new models and data repositories that will allow researchers to more accurately and efficiently explore power-grid solutions.

Five of the GRID DATA projects will focus on developing testing models, while two of them will create repositories to store and share the models.

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