University of Vermont

UVM Leads Project to Improve Grid

An innovative project developed at CEMS has received a $1.8 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative for research aimed at improving the electric grid’s ability to accommodate power generated from renewable energy sources.
The award, one of only 13 awarded nationally, is part of SunShot’s newest program called Enabling Extreme Real-time Grid Integration of Solar Energy, or ENERGISE. As more roof-top solar comes onto the grid, electric utilities have to manage an increasingly variable and uncontrollable power supply, which creates challenges for maintaining reliable, resilient, and economic grid operations.
The UVM-led project seeks to overcome these challenges by adapting advanced real-time control and optimization concepts from high-voltage power systems to low-voltage three-phase distribution grid operations. This allows the team to develop state-of-the-science analytical and software tools necessary to ensure reliable and resilient distribution system operations under extreme penetration of solar PV generation. The team will also study the role and capability of novel energy market formulations and validate the resulting technology in multiple phases with industry partners.
Mads Almassalkhi, principal investigator and assistant professor of electrical and biomedical engineering (EBE) in UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, is partnering with EBE colleagues Hamid Ossareh, Pavan Racherla, and Paul Hines at UVM and professors Dennice Gayme and Enrique Mallada at Johns Hopkins University. In addition, the project will leverage expertise from Dr. Soumya Kundu’s team at Pacific Northwestern National Lab, the National Institute of Science and Technology, and Consolidated Edison New York (Orange & Rockland Utility) to develop and validate the technology as well as a strategy that will help distribution utilities manage a much larger contribution from renewable sources.