The U.S. electrical grid faces many challenges over the coming decades. Aging infrastructure needs to be replaced, demand for power continues to increase, and climate change is driving a push for clean and sustainable energy. These combined challenges strain existing transmission systems to provide reliable power. Upgrades to the transmission system can be costly and time-consuming, which has created a backlog of transmission projects across the nation. Grid-enhancing technologies (GETs) provide operational support while larger upgrades are completed enroute to a transmission system that reliably integrates new power sources.
To fill the knowledge gaps of GETs, the Department of Energy Office of Electricity and Wind Energy Technologies Office established the Transmission Optimization with Grid-Enhancing Technologies (TOGETs) project. This project guides research to fill knowledge gaps of GETs, develops new modeling and simulation methodologies, and conducts a full-scale, multifaceted field exercise on INL’s Power Grid Testbed. INL’s nearly two-decades of R&D expertise in Dynamic Line Rating adds significant depth to the expansion of innovative solutions.
A better understanding of how various GETs can work together will allow regulatory bodies and utility providers to evaluate the benefits and risks of these devices and techniques. The combination of GETs leads to improving the use of existing transmission lines, supporting transmission upgrades as they occur, maximizing power transfer, and reducing lost revenue due to congestion and inefficiency.
Department of Energy Funding Opportunity for GETs
February 2023: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies and Solar Energy Technologies Offices issued a $6.5 million funding opportunity announcement to conduct research, development and demonstrations for innovative approaches that demonstrate real-world benefits and use of GETs. Application deadline is May 9.
The two technologies studied for this project are not the only types of GETs, but they represent mature technologies ready for industry deployment today.
The 2022 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Report “Grid-Enhancing Technologies: A Case Study on Ratepayer Impact,” focused on the impacts of integrating GETs onto existing transmission lines. GETs can defer or reduce the need for significant investment in new infrastructure projects and increase the use of renewables by maximizing the capacity of the current infrastructure. The report outlined key findings from a case study that evaluates a near-future scenario (2025) in the New York Independent System Operator service area to understand how GETs could impact the region.
As part of the TOGETs Project, INL followed the recommendations of the DOE 2022 Report to Congress by assembling a task force to enable the transparency of GETs. Electric utilities are traditionally risk averse organizations, for good reason. However, the gaps in public knowledge with respect to GETs leads utilities to prioritize established, known solutions. The INL-convened TOGETs task force is charged with helping provide industry with the data needed to fairly consider GETs and ameliorate perceived risk of the modern technologies.
Phase one: Compile information on cost, data, and outcomes from previous studies. This information is vital to understand the use of GETs devices and allow all entities to leverage lessons learned from earlier efforts to streamline future investments. Studying existing data will allow the task force to collect these lessons learned into a centralized repository and identify gaps in the publicly available literature. This work will allow the TOGETs team to focus on filling these gaps.
Phase two: The demonstration will use dynamic line rating and power flow control technology to clarify and answer unaddressed concerns such as integration challenges, cybersecurity and data management. The task force will make collected data publicly available. This will make GETs implementation and operation more transparent to future users.