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DOE Invests $44 Million In Grid-Connected Renewable Energy Projects

March 26, 2024
The initiatives will help connect and manage renewable energy and battery storage resources on the electric grid to reduce extreme weather-related outages.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has not only selected eleven projects to receive $34 million for tools to advance a clean, reliable electricity grid working on wind and solar energy but also announced a $10 million funding opportunity to streamline the interconnection of clean energy to the grid. 

The initiatives will help grid planners, grid operators, and utility companies to optimally connect and manage renewable energy and battery storage resources on the electric grid to reduce extreme weather-related outages. The funding will minimize wait times for projects to connect to the grid and help quickly deploy clean energy resources to achieve President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.  

The projects selected for the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s Operation and Planning Tools for Inverter-Based Resource Management and Availability for the Future Power System (OPTIMA) funding program are as follows.  

•    Florida International University (Miami, FL): $2.4 million 
•    Washington State University (Pullman, WA) $2.4 million 
•    Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA): $2.8 million 
•    Iowa State University (Ames, IA): $3 million 
•    Midcontinent Independent System Operator (Carmel, IN): $3 million 
•    National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO): $3.2 million 
•    National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO): $3.3 million 
•    University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT): $3.3 million 
•    Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ): $3 million 
•    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, WA): $3.6 million 
•    Quanta Technology (Raleigh, NC): $3.8 million 

DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and Wind Energy Technologies Office released the $10 million Solar and Wind Interconnection for Future Transmission (SWIFTR) funding opportunity to address interconnection challenges. 

It aims to improve software tools making the interconnection study process for proposed renewable energy plants more efficient and offering developers with important data on transmission system characteristics such as stability, voltage, and grid strength. These tools will help reduce wait times allowing new clean energy projects to be introduced quickly to meet growing electricity demand and reduce outcome uncertainty for developers and utilities. 

The SWIFTR funding opportunity, part of DOE’s Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) and launched in 2022 with funding from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, helps faster, simpler, and fairer interconnection of clean energy and energy storage while enhancing the reliability, resilience, and security of electric grid, for both distribution and bulk power systems. 

The funding opportunity addresses two goals of maintaining a reliable and resilient grid and increasing interconnection data access and transparency.

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