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DOE, NREL, EPRI Launch Prize to Advance DER Integration

Feb. 8, 2023
The American-Made program is funded by DOE and incentivizes innovation by connecting the nation's entrepreneurs and innovators to America's national labs.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has announced a new competition, administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in collaboration with EPRI, to advance the integration of distributed energy resources (DERs) into U.S. energy systems.

According to EPRI, meeting decarbonization goals set by the U.S. government will require integrating an increased number of DERs on the energy grid. DERs, such as solar and wind, offer new opportunities to introduce increased low-carbon resources into the grid. However, visibility into the output of DERs is a challenge to assist with reliability. The American-Made Net Load Forecasting Prize is accepting applications from organizations with potential solutions to make forecasting of the net load more accurate and adaptable. The net load forecast refers to the difference between the amount of demand predicted and the amount of renewable energy forecast that will be available.

"Grid security and reliability are critical pieces to solving our nation's challenges around moving to clean energy," said Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office. "Increasing the accuracy of net load predictions will not only enable that reliability, but also allow for cost-efficient planning and the dispatch of energy generation and storage."

The American-Made program is funded by DOE and incentivizes innovation by connecting the nation's entrepreneurs and innovators to America's national labs. Participants will employ EPRI's Solar Forecast Arbiter tool, designed to help users more consistently and accurately evaluate solar and net-load forecasts.

"Efficiently and rapidly integrating and operating so many DERs presents many challenges and opportunities," said Daniel Brooks, EPRI's vice president of Integrated Grid and Energy Systems. "From flexible and integrated control schemes that allow DERs to support grid reliability to providing needed cyber and physical security, the industry has much to tackle to fully leverage the decarbonization and resilience benefits of grid-edge resources. We're pleased to work with DOE and NREL on such an important component to a successful clean energy transition."

"EPRI's Solar Forecast Arbiter will allow competitors to use historical load data as they develop and evaluate forecasting models of their own," said Emily Evans, lead prize administrator for the Net Load Forecasting Prize at NREL. "It's a key part of the Net Load Forecasting Prize, and without EPRI, this program wouldn't have the same impact for innovators."

The competition is open to U.S.-based institutions, companies, and non-profit organizations. DOE plans to announce three winners, with three runners-up receiving in total $600,000 in cash prizes. For more information, NREL is hosting an informational webinar on Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. ET.  

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