Cantwell Announces Energy Department Investments in WA Efforts to Modernize the Nation's Electric Grid

Department of Energy supports smart grid projects that will increase electric grid reliability, efficiency and create jobs

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is investing in five projects aimed at optimizing the nation’s electric grid, three of which are connected to companies in Washington state.  Total public- and private-sector investment in these projects will exceed $30 million.  Collectively, these projects will apply technologies, tools, and techniques that are capable of transforming the electric grid into a system that is cleaner, more efficient and reliable, as well as support jobs.
“The nation’s electricity grid is showing its age and straining to meet an ever-increasing demand.  By infusing intelligence into the grid with state-of-the-art technology we can make the power grid more reliable and efficient and save consumers money,” said Senator Cantwell.  “This investment validates our region's leadership in this promising growth area of clean energy and Washington state will be at the forefront of empowering homeowners and businesses to reduce electricity costs and create high-paying, long-term jobs.”
Areva T&D, Inc., of Redmond, WA, will lead a project focused on designing and testing an innovative platform for integrating distributed energy resources into the electric grid.  Project participants include the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.  Funded with $6 million from DOE and $4.5 million from the private sector, the project will develop models and analytical tools to demonstrate integrating distributed energy resources with smart meters, demand response, and advanced sensors.  Other project participants include Duke Energy Co., Charlotte, NC and the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
Boeing Co. will lead a team on a project to demonstrate a self-healing electric distribution management system that will provide a highly automated way to integrate more customer-owned energy resources into the power distribution system. This will increase the value of energy resources both to end-use customers and to utilities. The project is receiving $6 million from DOE along with $4.4 million in private-sector investment.
On-Ramp Wireless Inc. of San Diego, CA, will work with Schweitzer Engineering Labs of Pullman, WA, among other team members, on a project to develop and demonstrate a wireless grid sensor and faulted circuit indicator capable of monitoring hard-to-reach distribution circuit locations.  DOE is providing $2.1 million with $2.7 million in private-sector investment.
See the full Department of Energy release on today’s grant awards: http://www.energy.gov/news/9805.htm
Cantwell has led efforts to invest in smart grid technologies to upgrade the nation’s electricity grid. She won the inclusion of $4.5 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for smart grid investments, funding which is authorized by legislation authored by Senator Cantwell in the 2007 Energy Bill.  Senator Cantwell’s pioneering smart grid legislation established a smart grid R&D program at the Department of Energy; required the development of an interoperability framework; established a federal matching grant program; created a Smart Grid Advisory Committee to advise the federal government on the deployment of smart grid technologies; initiated a Smart Grid Task Force to coordinate the federal government’s smart grid policies; and encouraged state utility regulatory commissions to allow for rate recovery for smart grid investments.