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Energy Department Announces Funding to Improve the Resiliency of the Electric Grid

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image Workers repair power lines in the Mid-Atlantic shortly after Hurricane Sandy (Photo courtesy of the Energy Department)

New Advanced Microgrids Will Help Communities Bolster Their Resiliency and Become More Adaptive as the Climate Changes

WASHINGTON – In support of the President's State of the Union address and Climate Action Plan, the Department of Energy is committed to working with officials and communities at the state, local, and tribal level to strengthen and modernize our critical energy infrastructure, diversify our energy portfolio, and improve the resilience of our electric grid in the face of extreme weather events and other potential disruptions. As part of that commitment, the Energy Department today announced up to $7 million to advance the design of technologies that will help communities become more adaptive and prepared for power outages caused by severe weather and other events. Microgrids are localized grids that are normally connected to the more traditional electric grid but can disconnect to operate autonomously and manage and control the flow of electricity and help mitigate grid disturbances.  Microgrids also have the ability to cost-effectively integrate storage, distributed generation such as renewables, and support demand management programs. 

“Improving the resiliency of the electric grid is essential to moving the nation towards a cleaner and more secure and efficient energy future,” said Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman. “Developing more advanced microgrid systems will help communities build stronger and smarter so they are better prepared for the effects of a changing climate. This funding is another important step in our drive to partner with communities, developers, and utilities in this area of critical importance.” 

The “Microgrid Research, Development, and System Design” Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) supports the goal of “building stronger and safer communities and infrastructure” as set forth in the President’s Climate Action Plan and supports implementation of Executive Order 13653 by making climate-resilient investments in States, local communities, and tribes. The FOA targets teams of communities, technology developers and providers, and utilities to develop advanced microgrid controllers and system designs that will help communities take an innovative and comprehensive approach to microgrid design and implementation. Each applicant will be required to work with an entity or community to design microgrid systems of ≤10 MW which is enough to power a small community. Additionally, applicants will be encouraged to design systems that protect critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water treatment plants. 

The Microgrid Research, Development, and System Design FOA, which is available atGrants.gov and FedConnect.net, provides additional information, including cost-sharing requirements for government-industry cooperation. The deadline for submitting applications is April 28, 2014. 

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