DOE to Invest $48M to Promote Grid Resiliency
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy is making $48 million available for projects aimed at enabling utilities to more effectively control power fluctuation in the nation’s electric grid.
The program is called “ULTRAFAST,” an acronym for the much more cumbersome, “Unlocking Lasting Transformative Resiliency Advances by Faster Actuation of Power Semiconductor Technologies.”
It is being managed by the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and is intended to support the development of “faster, more capable power electronics for enhanced resilience, reliability and control of power flow at all grid interfaces,” the department said in a press release.
Addressing these challenges, along with streamlining the coordinated operation of electricity supply and demand, will improve the cost efficiency of grid operations and prevent unforeseen outages, which are estimated to cost the U.S. economy $150 billion annually.
“A reliable and resilient grid is the key to protecting our power supply from outside threats and expanding America’s clean energy and transportation options,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in a written statement.
“Federal investments in tools and analysis to modernize our grid will put the nation on a path to … extend the benefits of a decarbonized energy and transportation sector to all corners of the country.”
Successful ULTRAFAST project teams will develop device concepts that target:
- Semiconductor material, device and/or power module level advances to enable faster switching and/or triggering at higher current and voltage levels.
- Improved electromagnetic interference immunity.
- Complementary sensing, packaging and thermal management technology.
ARPA-E first held a workshop on this topic last year. Workshop participants provided expert inputs on the technical aspects of ultra-fast-triggered semiconductors, and how such devices can aid national goals to develop future high-performance resilient power systems.