smart grid

Accelerating the transition to a Smart Grid in the United States through the development of implementation strategies and tools.  

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NETL Smart Grid Initiatives


The National Energy Technology Laboratory is involved in a variety of smart grid and modern grid activities on behalf of the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE) and the DOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE).

Under OE sponsorship, these activities include:

  • Project management and benefits analysis of 32 Smart Grid Demonstration Projects funded from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
  • Project management of 30 Smart Grid Investment Grants funded from the ARRA
  • Project management and benefits analysis of nine Smart Grid Demonstration Projects from the former Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration Program
  • Smart Grid Implementation Strategy project to create alignment in vision and roadmap for deployment of a smart, modern grid
  • Smart Grid Maturity Model project to assess the current and possible future state of smart grid deployment for a utility
  • Project management of Smart Grid technology R&D projects

Under EE sponsorship, NETL is managing R&D projects on facility energy management systems; building materials and electric vehicles that interact with smart grid technologies.

Under FE sponsorship, NETL is conducting analytical and modeling studies on the integration of fossil energy resources in a modern grid that incorporate smart grid capabilities. 

NETL is also a regular participant in various groups of smart grid experts convened to address specific challenges of deploying smart grid. 

Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability

Project Management

On behalf of the former OE Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration Program (RDSI), NETL is managing nine Smart Grid demonstration projects which mainly focus on microgrid applications with a goal to reduce peak electricity demand by at least 15% at distribution feeders

In addition, NETL manages a diverse portfolio of R&D projects aimed at developing and enhancing the smart grid system including projects on cyber security; customer access to consumption data; smart chargers for electric vehicles; advanced modeling; advanced controls; microgrids; and application of synchrophasor data.   

ARRA Project/Program Management

NETL is managing 16 Smart Grid regional demonstration projects and 16 utility-scale energy storage projects with a total value of about $770 million including $184 million of Federal funds. NETL is also managing about 31 Smart Grid Investment Grants with a total value of $3,710 million including $1,638 million of Federal funds.

Cost and Benefits Analysis

NETL is responsible for conducting cost and benefits analyses of the 32 Smart Grid Demonstration Projects and nine RDSI projects and preparing topical reports based on the analyses. 

Electricity Utility Commission Assistance

NETL awarded about $43 million in formula grants to state public utility commissions (PUCs) to hire new staff and retrain employees to help manage the increase in dockets and other regulatory actions for electricity projects.

Interconnection Transmission Planning

NETL is managing six cooperative agreements totaling $60 million and seven national laboratory agreements totaling $20 million to support transmission planning for the Eastern, Western and Texas electricity interconnections interconnection transmission networks.

State and Local Energy Assurance

NETL is managing grants of about $46 million to 51 states and U.S. territories and 43 local governments to strengthen their energy assurance plans. 

Workforce Development

NETL is managing 49 projects worth about $100 million with the power industry, universities, community colleges, trade schools, and training organizations to educate and train current and future workers in the electric power sector. 

Smart Grid Implementation Strategy

NETL managed the Smart Grid Implementation Strategy (SGIS) project which focused on creating alignment on a vision and roadmap to implement a smart, modern power system.  A number of references developed by the SGIS team are available at /research/energy-efficiency/energy-delivery/smart-grid.

Smart Grid Maturity Model

In 2009, NETL began managing an agreement with Software Engineering Institute to further refine the Smart Grid Maturity Model (SGMM) which is a benchmarking tool used by electric service providers to assess their current state of Smart Grid maturity and provide a mechanism to create the future state of their Smart Grid.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

NETL supports DOE EE by managing more than 150 R&D projects that impact the electric power system. Some of these projects could reduce the electricity demand through emerging technologies such as solid state lighting, improved windows, building materials, space conditioning, refrigeration, and energy management systems. NETL also manages R&D projects on electric vehicles.

Office of Fossil Energy

NETL is conducting analytical studies on the applications of fossil energy resources in a smart, modern power system. These studies include the applications of coal and natural gas plants in a modern grid such as impact of operational cycling and impacts of variable renewable energy resources; energy storage systems and electric vehicles.  NETL also conducts in-house research to model, develop and apply advanced power electronics through a multi-university Grid Technologies Collaborative project.

Smart Grid Groups

NETL participates in various groups of smart grid experts including the Federal Smart Grid Task Force, Smart Grid Policy Center, smart grid ARRA metrics and benefits team, and electrical systems working group within the  Interagency Power Group, to name a few.