GridWise Alliance on Dec. 17 said that it has released its “Policy Framework for Grid Investments in Economic Recovery,” which outlines the need for $50bn in federal spending for grid modernization, with that figure doubling calls in September for $25bn.
GridWise Alliance said that the increased figure highlights significant increases in infrastructure and manufacturing investments to help the country meet ambitious climate goals, build resilience, secure the grid against malicious attacks, and replace aging infrastructure.
On resilience, the policy framework noted, for instance, that the country’s digital economy and its critical infrastructure systems are increasingly interdependent, which increases the risk of a “cascading effect” during an extreme event. The framework called for, for instance, $18bn via the existing State Energy Program, and $1bn to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity (OE) for threat assessment and risk mitigation measures at utilities serving Defense Critical Energy Infrastructure.
Discussing deployment of technologies to enhance grid flexibility, the framework noted that to balance electricity supply and demand, especially as more renewable energy comes online, the grid must have system flexibility, which can be provided by a mix of supply- and demand-side options, including flexible conventional generation, curtailment of renewable generation, new transmission, and more responsive loads.
Such grid technologies as controls, sensors, storage, data analytics and software-as-service (SAS) can provide flexibility by improving visibility of the system for grid operators, helping to quickly rebalance the system with autonomous controls, and facilitating the aggregation of distributed energy resources to serve as assets to grid operations, the framework said.
The framework called for $5bn for the DOE OE Smart Grid Investment Program, as well as to increase the borrowing authority of DOE Power Marketing Administrations by $2bn, using Section 301 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
To promote the deployment of advanced technology in the course of addressing the primary goal of the stimulus — jobs — Smart Grid Investment Grants for technology deployment could be supplemented by a companion appropriation for demonstration and evaluation of advanced technologies, the framework said, adding that those would be a supplementary award to an awarded grant.
Noting that the Energy Information Administration collects and publishes a significant amount of data regarding the grid, the framework said that DOE should work with stakeholders to explore gathering reasonably accurate data on the delivered generation resource mix and emissions rates for load-serving entities, as well as develop a recommendation to amend its data collection efforts and reflect progress as part of an annual report.
Discussing the deployment of technologies to enhance grid integration of building and vehicles, the framework noted that Building-to-Grid Integration funding should include grid investments to facilitate aggregation and management of building loads, grid-connected Energy Management Systems and equipment/appliances within the building, as well as advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) at the grid-building interface.
The framework called for, for instance, $3bn to the DOE Federal Energy Management Program for procurement and installation of grid-integrated Energy Management Systems for federal buildings, and $3bn for the DOE State Energy Program for procurement and installation of grid-integrated Energy Management Systems for state and local government buildings.
Converting the transportation fleet to electric will create tremendous demand for electricity and the country will need a grid that is prepared to reliably provide that electricity, the framework said, adding that that will require adding distribution and transmission capacity, implementing digital solutions to manage those new electricity demands; as well as investing in advanced technology to improve reliability, like microgrids and energy storage.
The framework called for $500m for a joint DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)-OE initiative on vehicle-grid integration.
The framework also discussed cybersecurity technology and workforce, noting that even with federal funding for monitoring platforms and technology, protecting the grid from cyber attacks is hampered by the lack of qualified cyber professionals. The framework noted that the current cybersecurity workforce in the United States is projected to be 498,480. The framework called for, for instance, $1bn to the DOE Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) for cybersecurity technology deployment, as well as $500m to the DOE Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) for cybersecurity workforce development.
The framework also noted that the Section 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit in ARRA originally provided a 30% investment tax credit to 183 domestic clean energy manufacturing facilities valued at $2.3bn, and was extended to provide an additional $150m in 2013. Noting that the tax credit helped build a U.S. manufacturing capacity and supported significant growth in U.S. exports, the framework called for $8bn in tax credits to manufacturing entities approved by DOE.
Of utility communications, the framework said that utilities’ investments in operational fiber and wireless broadband communications network are essential for a modern grid. The framework called for $1bn in additional borrowing authority for Rural Utility Services for rural cooperatives, as well as $2bn for the DOE OE Smart Grid Matching Grant Program for investor owned utilities and Public Power.
The framework also called for $500m to the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program for wildfire prevention technology, as well as $400m to the DOE OE for workforce training for digital, high-tech grid jobs, with $100m to the DOE Office of Economic Impact and Diversity.