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Department of Energy Announces $220 Million for the Grid Modernization Initiative

The Department of Energy unveiled new steps in its Grid Modernization Initiative to make our Nation’s electrical power grid more affordable, resilient, and sustainable.

Our Nation’s electric grid is the backbone of our economy, a key factor in future economic growth, and a critical component of our energy security. Modernizing and revitalizing our electric grid has been a top priority for President Obama.

The Department of Energy today unveiled new steps in its Grid Modernization Initiative – an effort to make our nation’s electrical power grid more affordable, resilient, and sustainable. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced two components of the initiative today while visiting a utility control center in Miami, FL: a Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP); and $220 million over three years in funding for 88 research and development projects led by 14 of the National Labs, in coordination with public and private-sector partners.

“Modernizing the U.S. electrical grid is essential to reducing carbon emissions, creating safeguards against attacks on our infrastructure, and keeping the lights on.”
Secretary Moniz

This new initiative builds upon more than $4.5 billion in modernizing the grid the Department of Energy has invested through the Recovery Act. This includes more than $3.3 billion in smart grid technology deployment and an additional $685 million in smart grid regional and energy storage demonstration projects. As a result of these investments, the nation’s grid is now more reliable, resilient, flexible, efficient, and secure. In various parts of the country, improvements in distribution system reliability increased by up to 50%, and operational costs have been reduced by up to 50%. Service is restored faster after weather-related grid outages and emissions have been reduced. In addition, consumers are now able to better manage their own consumption, saving money and electricity.

Grid Modernization Initiative and Multi-Year Program Plan

  • The Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI) is helping to shape the future of our nation’s grid by addressing the challenges of integrating conventional and renewable sources, providing a critical platform for U.S. prosperity, competitiveness and innovation in a global clean energy economy.

  • The Multi-Year Program Plan falls under the GMI and outlines key government and industry capabilities for transforming the grid. Building on concepts and recommendations from DOE’s Quadrennial Energy and Technology reviews, the MYPP also outlines the strategic priorities for a consortium of Department of Energy National Labs working on the nation’s grid.

Grid Modernization Lab Call Project Selections

  • The Grid Modernization Initiative will provide up to $220 million over three years to 88 research and development projects at 14 of our national labs designed to conduct foundational research, advance innovative cross-cutting R&D in grid technologies, and develop pioneering regional partnerships.

  • Project partners include 24 utilities and power producers, 10 reliability organizations, 25 tech developers and vendors, 15 universities and research institutes, 9 federal agencies, 6 state agencies and public utility commissions, 15 industry and professional associations, 5 policy and regulatory associations and 14 standards bodies and testing companies. This funding will support critical technology research and development in advance storage systems and other grid devices, standards and test procedures and multi-scale systems integration and testing.

Grid Modernization Achievements

  • The Department of Energy has driven electric grid modernization and resiliency in the energy infrastructure to help ensure a resilient, reliable, and flexible electricity system through research, partnerships, facilitation, modeling and analytics, and emergency preparedness.

  • Part of grid modernization is creating a more resilient and secure grid. The Department of Energy is committed to protecting the nation’s energy critical infrastructure, including the electric power grid, from disruptions caused by natural and manmade events, including severe weather and physical and cyberattacks. Over the past five years, the Department has invested more than $150 million in collaborative cybersecurity research and development projects among industry, universities, and our national labs.

  • And there are many success stories where industry has worked with the public sector to advance smart grid technologies.

    • In Tennessee, for example, as a result of Chattanooga’s Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) project, reliability increased by 45 percent.

    • In Georgia, an electric cooperative deployed advanced metering infrastructure under the SGIG program, and reduced its operational costs by 65 percent.

    • In New York, by leveraging a $38 million Recovery Act investment, New York Independent System Operators (NYISO) and eight transmission owners deployed new synchrophasors and other smart grid technologies across the state. The project installed new transmission capacitors to increase the ability of grid operators to regulate transmission voltages, advanced software and tools that help NYISO engineers conduct extensive and detailed system modeling and analysis, and a new control center to provide a more expansive and in-depth view of the power grid.

  • These technologies work. A new report from OE's Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program presents findings on smart grid improvements in outage management, based on the recent experiences of three SGIG projects to Electric Power Boar, Florida Power and Light, and PECO. All three had smart grid experience prior to the SGIG program, and used DOE funding to accelerate grid modernization and deploy new technologies that strengthen reliability and resilience to improve storm outage response.

  • Smart grid successes highlight how strategic investment can make our nation’s electrical power grid more affordable, resilient, and sustainable. You can read about more success stories in the Bonneville Power Administration report A Compilation of Success Stories.

Find more information on the Grid Modernization Initiative at