WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is investing more than $19 million for five projects aimed at optimizing the nation’s electric grid. Collectively, these smart grid projects will apply technologies, tools, and techniques that are capable of making the grid cleaner and more efficient. Private investment will be about $11 million, bringing the overall total to more than $30 million.

DOE said smart grid technologies can help modernize the nation’s electric grid by employing remote control and automation, two-way communications, and information technology to better inform consumers and utilities. DOE is working with industry, universities, national laboratories, and other groups to conduct research, development, and demonstration projects that lead to commercially available smart grid technologies. The projects and companies selected include:

• ABB Inc., which will develop and demonstrate a real-time monitoring, control, and management system to improve grid reliability and efficiency;

• Areva T&D Inc., which is designing and testing an innovative platform for integrating distributed energy resources into the grid;

• Boeing Co., which will demonstrate a smart, highly-automated electric distribution management system that will allow more customer-owned energy resources and automation into the distribution system; and

• Varentec Inc., which will research and develop a wide range of next-generation power electronics devices to better integrate renewable resources.

Publication date: 12/27/2010