Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Energy and Environment,

Electricity Infrastructure

Carl Imhoff

(509) 375-4328

With demand for electricity expected to grow nearly 30 percent by 2040, our nation's electric infrastructure needs substantial upgrades. Technological advancements that use information technology for greater sensing, communications, and control throughout the power system promise to make the current power infrastructure more effective and offer opportunities to improve overall performance through new, smart transmission, distribution, and generation assets.

PNNL is delivering the science, technology, and leadership to transform our nation's aging power grid into one that is clean, efficient, reliable, and resilient. Focused on the vital needs of the energy infrastructure, we are taking a system-wide approach to grid modernization to help realize the "smart grid" of tomorrow—where energy technology meets information technology through a network architecture as big as the Internet but faster, with unprecedented updates at all levels: generation, transmission, distribution, and end use.

Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium

The challenge to transform the U.S. power grid to meet the demands of the 21st century is daunting and urgent. To meet this challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy harnessed the scientific and technical power of its national laboratory system with the formation of the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium.

This strategic partnership between DOE and 14 of its national laboratories involves coordinating unique capabilities across collaborating institutions. Together, grid experts are developing the framework for U.S. industry and regulators to achieve a national power grid that seamlessly delivers clean and reliable electricity to people wherever they are, whenever they need it.

  • Guide for Documentation and Validation of Energy Storage System Safety

    Guide for Documentation and Validation of Energy Storage System Safety

    Many energy storage technologies coming to market are relatively new and, as such, are not specifically covered by safety-related codes and standards. The newly released Energy Storage System Guide for Compliance with Safety Codes and Standards helps fill the gap by facilitating the documentation and validation of safety until current codes and standards can ‘catch up’ with the technology by providing the specific criteria applicable to newer energy storage systems.

  • Emissions Calculator for Modern Grid Investments

    Emissions Calculator for Modern Grid Investments

    The use of "smart grid" technologies can impact carbon emissions—but by how much? A new Emissions Quantification Tool, developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, can estimate the answer to that question. The free, web-based tool enables utilities and industry to not only evaluate the environmental impact, but also the operational data to justify the investment.

  • PNNL Research Sparks Discussions at 2016 IEEE PES General Meeting

    PNNL Research Sparks Discussions at 2016 IEEE PES General Meeting

    With strong national support for cleaner and more reliable electricity, attendees at this year’s 2016 IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) General Meeting are rallying around the theme “Paving the Way for Grid Modernization.” This week, dozens of PNNL researchers discuss advances from their investigations into transmission system reliability and advanced computing, to transactive controls, smart grid, energy storage, and more.

  • Grid Contingency Analysis Software Helps Prevent Cascading Failures

    Grid Contingency Analysis Software Helps Prevent Cascading Failures

    The Dynamic Contingency Analysis Tool is a software package designed for electrical utility companies to better understand power system failures during extreme events, thus reducing the likelihood of cascading power losses or blackouts. The tool could help utilities comply with new planning requirements.

  • IEEE Power & Energy Magazine’s May/June cover

    Transactive Times: Three PNNL Researchers Featured in Special Issue

    The May/June 2016 issue of IEEE's Power & Energy Magazine focuses on a topic that the grid gurus at PNNL hold dear: transactive energy. Three of PNNL's own leaders in the transactive energy continuum are featured in the issue, which may help demystify transactive energy and put it on the map as a novel approach for energy management.

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas