The Energy Department last week announced up to $9 million in funding to facilitate rapid response to abnormal grid conditions.  As a result, utilities will be able to better detect and head off potential blackouts, while improving day-to-day grid reliability and helping with the integration of clean renewable sources of energy onto the grid.

“Our priority is to develop a clearer understanding of the health of the grid and to drive partnerships and collaboration with application developers and the utility industry,” said Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman. “Integrating data from sensors on the transmission system into utilities’ analysis tools will help utilities gain better visibility into conditions affecting the reliability of the grid.” 

The “Pre-Commercial Synchrophasor Research and Demonstration” Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) targets teams composed of utilities and software developers to develop and implement advanced software that would improve the operational reliability of the grid.  This FOA builds on investments made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Smart Grid Investment Grant and Smart Grid Demonstration Grants that have installed more than 1,000 synchrophasor measurement units (PMUs) across the United States. These advanced devices use high-speed digital recorders to sample grid conditions 100 times faster than today’s monitoring technology. The resulting data improves situational awareness of grid conditions and promotes real-time wide-area visibility.    

The “Pre-Commercial Synchrophasor Research and Demonstration” FOA, which is available at Grants.gov and FedConnect.net, provides additional information, including cost-sharing requirements for government-industry cooperation. The deadline for submitting applications is Nov. 5, 2013.