The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a notice of intent (NOI) for the Office of Electricity to issue a $4.8 million funding opportunity announcement (FOA). This FOA aims to support the development and demonstration of technologies, tools, or systems that enable secure data and control messaging between grid edge infrastructure and distribution system operators.
The grid edge is where utility service ends and customer equipment starts. Specifically, the grid edge begins at customers’ meter points and includes their own equipment, software, and controls. Examples include rooftop solar systems, electric vehicle charging stations, and energy storage.
“Secure communications are essential for reliable grid operation and protection from the effects of natural disasters or malicious actors,” said Gene Rodrigues, Assistant Secretary for Electricity. “The notification of this forthcoming funding announcement represents the Office of Electricity’s commitment to advancing a resilient, reliable, secure, and affordable grid that works for all Americans.”
Distributed energy resources — such as inverter-based generation, storage, and controllable electrical loads — are proliferating at the grid edge. Secure communication systems must link the grid edge to the larger system, and legacy grid communication systems may not adequately meet the information security requirements of this new landscape. Securing these systems will be key to grid reliability.
The FOA’s objectives are to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of new communications solutions on utility infrastructure and to demonstrate how legacy grid communications infrastructure and operating standards can be updated to support the coordination of distributed energy resources on the distribution system. To keep the lights on for consumers, it is critical that the grid quickly respond and recover from disruption.
If DOE issues the FOA, it will be posted at Grants.gov and at FedConnect. Entities interested in applying for awards are strongly encouraged to register at these sites now to receive notification of announcements regarding the FOA. Applications can only be submitted through Grants.gov.
The Office of Electricity’s mission is to develop a resilient, reliable, secure, and affordable electricity grid of the future. Learn more about the office’s work.