DOE, Duke Energy, EPRI partner to improve electrical grid

The three entities will collaborate to test and deploy projects including Smart Grids, grid-scale energy storage, power electronics, and energy-efficient cooling technologies.


The U.S. Dept. of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has signed a partnership deal with Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, and with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a non-profit research organization that focuses on the electric power utility industry in the U.S. and abroad, to identify opportunities for testing and deploying ARPA-E -funded projects that will bolster the electric grid.

ARPA-E, Duke Energy, and EPRI will identify opportunities to expand smart grid developments, grid-scale energy storage, power electronics, and energy efficient cooling technologies, among others. This new umbrella deal, which will allow for similar partnerships with other utilities, comes two months after ARPA-E announced six of its projects have secured more than $100 million in outside private capital investment.

"ARPA-E technologies have the potential to lower utility customers' energy costs and strengthen the reliability of the electric grid," said Secretary Steven Chu. "This partnership with the utility industry will move promising technologies from the lab into the marketplace at a much faster pace."

"Technology innovation will be key to success as we embrace the challenge of providing reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity," said Michael Howard, president and chief executive officer of EPRI. "The ARPA-E agreements will facilitate identifying, testing and deploying these innovations that will benefit electricity customers and strengthen the electric system." 

Under the terms of the agreement, ARPA-E will facilitate the exchange of information between ARPA-E-supported projects, EPRI, and Duke Energy, which delivers energy to approximately 4 million U.S. customers in five states. Duke Energy could deploy and test ARPA-E technologies at various power plants or wind farms. The technologies may also be studied at the company's McAlpine substation, a test bed for renewable, grid storage and smart grid technologies, or at the company's Envision Center, a smart grid demonstration and testing facility in Erlanger, Ky.

EPRI, whose members represent more than 90% of the electricity generated in the U.S., will offer test-bed facilities at two of its research laboratories: a transmission and distribution research facility in Charlotte, N.C. and at its Knoxville, Tenn. laboratory, where testing is conducted on consumer electronics, lightings, smart grid components, heating and cooling systems, and electric vehicle infrastructure requirements.

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