By Jeff St. John for Greentech Media
The Obama administration is calling on Congress to approve billions of dollars in new spending to modernize the power grid, as part of a first-ever Quadrennial Energy Review released April 21 that highlights the major reliability, security and renewable energy integration challenges facing the country’s electricity infrastructure.
Many of the review’s spending recommendations are built into the White House’s broader DOE 2016 budget request, which seeks to increase support for renewables and carbon reductions called for in the proposed Clean Power Plan and reduce subsidies for fossil fuels. That request is already facing strong opposition from Republican lawmakers, leaving it uncertain whether these recommendations will find their way into law.
On the electricity system side, the QER recommends spending $356 million next year and $3.5B over the next 10 years to support the creation of new tools and technologies in the following areas:
- Design and planning tools to model emerging needs
- System control and power flow to optimize for new grid capabilities
- Grid sensing and measurements for determining changes in variable generation markets and infrastructure conditions
- Devices and integrated systems testing for evaluation and validation of new technologies in a systems context
- Grid security and resilience efforts to protect, prevent, analyze, and respond to threats by developing physical and cybersecurity technology and standards
- Risk management, including integrated demonstration of promising new technologies with new institutional approaches
- Institutional support and alignment, including analyses, workshops, and dialogues to highlight key policy and market challenges and options for grid transformation
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