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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.

  • If the Grid Becomes a Value Exchange, How Do We Assign Value to it?

    If the Grid Becomes a Value Exchange, How Do We Assign Value to it?

    In Transactive Systems (TS), value is exchanged between parties through a technology-enabled platform. When applied to electricity, this approach has the potential to provide critical flexibility to the grid, as well as increased value to individuals, buildings, and society. Researchers from PNNL and Navigant Consulting analyze this approach and offer insights and recommendations in a new report, Valuation of Transactive Systems.

  • Small Business Vouchers Further Clean Energy Technology

    New Method Shows Promise for Turning Energy Peaks into Valleys

    Early results from an experiment at PNNL strongly suggest that a new method known as Intelligent Load Control, or ILC, rapidly reins in a building's energy demand—without harming the comfort of building occupants. The results could help advance transactive energy concepts nationwide.

  • Pursuing Grid Flexibility, Avoiding Grid Lock

    Pursuing Grid Flexibility, Avoiding Grid Lock

    Distributed energy resources (DERs), like renewable solar photovoltaic and energy storage systems, are part of the answer to a more diversified power supply. But, the interconnection application process for bringing these new resources online has proven inefficient for both utilities and the owners of these systems. A new software tool, called GridUnity™, helps utilities cut application review times from months to only one and a half hours.

  • International Collaboration Studies Effects of Marine Renewable Energy Devices

    Lithium Hoarding Behind Failure of Promising New Battery

    Through the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, researchers at PNNL discovered how a salt used in the electrolyte plays a critical role in allowing lithium-sulfur batteries to hold a charge after more than 200 uses; this work offers needed design principles for creating long-lasting, high-capacity batteries.

  • Jeff Dagle

    A Modern Grid is a Resilient One

    The National Academy of Engineering selected Jeff Dagle, Chief Electrical Engineer at PNNL, for its electricity resilience committee. Dagle is the sole national laboratory member of the committee, which is comprised of a dozen representatives from academia and industry. He leads a wide range of PNNL's grid modernization efforts related to transmission reliability and control system security.

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas