DOE seeks solar power situational awareness

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Various branches of the U.S. government have long been deeply involved with the making sure that all the pieces of the incredibly complex machine that comprise the U.S. grid work together, and this week that work took another incremental step.

The Department of Energy (DOE), via the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Solar Energy Technology Office, a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled Advanced Solar Systems Integration Technologies (.doc Notice of Intent).

The project aims to increase

Situational awareness in strategic locations associated with critical infrastructure (that) can significantly improve the reliability and continuity of service of solar-generated electricity.

The press release notes approximately ten projects, varying from $2 to $10 million in size, will be funded over three years. Applicants are encouraged to work with critical infrastructure owners and operators, including state, local, tribal, and territories to take proactive steps to manage cyber and physical threats to improve the resiliency of solar generated electricity.

Groups with an intent to apply are required to submit their first notices by November 14, 2018 – one month from yesterday’s announcement.

Other research complements this work, such at NREL and Hawaii seeking to better understand the relationship between solar module level power electronics and broader grid management.

The National Security Agency (the NSA) once stated that they must exist on and within the internet in order to correctly manage it. The US Military sees our power grid as a sibling of the internet, and by using the actual internet to keep it running at peak capabilities – they believe they can protect what they are obliged to do so.