On February 8, 2016, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall visited the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. I travelled to the Pacific Northwest to join BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer for a firsthand look at the vital work they are doing to improve U.S. energy infrastructure and use new capabilities to maximize efficiency in our energy use.
The Bonneville team is at the forefront of DOE’s push toward modernizing our grid for the challenges of the 21st century. They showed me advanced facilities like the Dittmer Control Center and briefed me on upgraded infrastructure such as the Celilo Converter and Pacific Direct Current Intertie (PDCI), a high-voltage direct current link between the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. These tangible improvements to our transmission infrastructure are the real deal: they are enhancing resiliency, reliability, and security and ensuring we have the grid our country needs.
The National Association of State Energy Officials’ (NASEO) Energy Markets and Planning (E-MAP) program, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (DOE-OE), was developed in response to several state requests for assistance in undertaking analysis, planning, and policy development activities. The goal of the E-MAP program is to help states develop holistic approaches to advancing electricity system and related energy infrastructure modernization, resilience, and affordability efforts.
Today, NASEO announced the selection of the Michigan Energy Office, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy, and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy as the pilot states for NASEO’s E-MAP program.
With cybersecurity for the energy sector emerging as one of the most serious challenges associated with grid modernization and infrastructure protection, maintaining a robust pipeline of cutting-edge technologies is vital to helping the energy sector continue adapting to the changing cyber landscape. The “Industry Partnerships for Cybersecurity of Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) Research, Development and Demonstration for the Energy Sector” Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will lead to next-generation tools and technologies that will become widely adopted to enhance and accelerate additional cybersecurity capabilities for the U.S energy critical infrastructure.
I had the opportunity this past week to represent the Department of Energy at a critically important exercise here in our Nation’s Capital – an exercise, just like in real life, to strengthen our muscles, in this case making our electricity grid more secure and resilient.
The two-day Grid Security Exercise III, or GridEx III, was the largest exercise of its kind – ever. GridEx III brought together government and private sector leaders to simulate a coordinated response to physical and cyber threats to our Nation’s grid.
The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) recently released an innovative, interactive visualization tool to highlight the findings from our work on the effect of sea level rise and storm surge on energy infrastructure. The tool is designed to enhance the communication of the results and allows users to better understand the context of the potential exposure and explore spatial data used to create the maps. The tool also includes full reports for each of the seven metropolitan statistical areas (MSA).
I have previously written about synchrophasors. These are systems that measure the status of the electric power grid at high resolution and enable a wide range of applications that allow operators to manage their systems more efficiently, integrate new generation sources, and improve reliability. Synchrophasor technology monitors the grid at a rate 100 times faster than existing systems and is a core component of a modernized grid.
The Department of Energy is working in partnership with industry members to advance and accelerate the use of this technology. Since 1995, the Department has sponsored R&D in Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) and synchrophasor applications
The more than 330 Recovery Act-funded projects that the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability has been managing over the past five years have been successfully completed, with major improvements to the grid now in place across America. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Energy Department invested more than $31 billion in a wide range of projects nationwide. The DOE investment included $4.5 billion for modernization of the nation’s electric grid. With matching private funding from the electric sector, the investment in grid modernization totaled about $9.5 billion.