WASHINGTON— The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced $33 million in funding for 12 innovative projects as part of ARPA-E’s newest program Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES). NODES project teams will develop technologies that coordinate load and generation on the grid to create a virtual energy storage system. The teams will develop innovative hardware and software solutions to integrate and coordinate generation, transmission, and end-use energy systems at various points on the electric grid. These control systems will enable real-time coordination between distributed generation, such as rooftop and community solar assets and bulk power generation, while proactively shaping electric load. This will alleviate periods of costly peak demand, reduce wasted energy, and increase renewables penetration on the grid.

“The NODES program continues ARPA-E’s commitment to investing in technologies that can provide options for our energy infrastructure and its arising operational challenges,” said ARPA-E Director Dr. Ellen D. Williams. “The research and development of these grid control technologies will make the concept of virtual energy storage a practical reality. The result will enhance the resiliency, security and flexibility of our nation’s electrical grid and allow the U.S. to make the best use of its abundant renewable energy resources.”

The NODES program aims to create a new approach to management of the two-way flow of power to and from homes and businesses that consume and deliver electricity back to the grid. The resulting virtual energy storage will manage the intermittency of renewable energy, the lack of electricity production when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The expected benefits of these technologies include improving grid efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions in power generation, and significant savings of system costs.

The increasing use of renewable generation and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), such as residential solar and home energy storage, along with customers’ changing energy use patterns is leading to greater uncertainty and variability in the electric grid. NODES project teams will address these challenges in grid operation through system-wide control and coordination of DERs and flexible load. These technologies will seek to improve the overall efficiency and reliability of the U.S. electric grid while retaining customers’ quality of service. The goal of the program is to enable more than 50% usage of renewable power on the grid.

Read more from the source: Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy

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