EPRI's Technology Innovation Portfolio Preview
This quick video highlights EPRI's Technology Innovation program, which accelerates development of breakthrough technologies, and provides thought leadership and applied R&D to help maintain an innovation pipeline through EPRI's research sectors. To learn more, download the program's prospectus.
2017 Research Portfolio
See what programs and projects are on deck for next year. Visit our 2017 Research Portfolio website.
Distributed energy resources (DER) are smaller power sources that can be aggregated to provide power necessary to meet regular demand. As the electricity grid continues to modernize, DER such as storage and advanced renewable technologies can help facilitate the transition to a smarter grid.
Deploying DER in a widespread, efficient and cost-effective manner requires complex integration with the existing electricity grid. Research can identify and resolve the challenges of integration, facilitating a smoother transition for the electricity industry and their customers into the next age of electricity infrastructure.
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A global scale-up of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for electric transportation could enable cost-effective energy storage systems for utility use in the near term. This potential is driven by unique advantages of Li-ion technology and the overlapping requirements for low-cost, long-life, and high energy density shared by stationary grid energy storage applications and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The expected rapid scale-up of PEV battery production, in an effort to meet the demand of mass-produced electric vehicles, may also lead to significant performance and cost improvements.
EPRI is currently in the second phase of a demonstration and test of 1 MW and 2 MWh class grid-scale energy storage systems, establishing a technical and economic foundation for future electric grid deployments in Li-ion technology. These activities are expected to generate significant knowledge and improve the understanding of the performance characteristics and grid reliability impacts of Li-ion batteries, as well as electricity market efficiency improvements. The demo is testing various applications such as peak load management and renewable generation integration—specifications that are the first of its kind, having not been previously evaluated.
Energy storage technologies can be utilized as an effective resource to add stability, control and reliability to the electric grid. Historically, use of storage technologies has been limited by a lack of cost-effective options when compared to cheaper sources of power, like fossil fuels. However, the recent availability of lower-cost, longer-lived storage technologies as well as evolving economies for traditional transportation and grid technologies has once again made storage an attractive option.
Since wind and solar energy resources are intermittent by nature, energy storage technologies can provide necessary power during low generation periods to help keep the system stable. EPRI’s research analyzes how storage technologies’ costs can be decreased through manufacturing-scale experiences and lead to increased storage deployment and newer technologies that maximize opportunities for the industry and society.
Integrating distributed renewable generation resources such as solar and wind into the electric grid poses a number of challenges for the electricity industry. Utilities face various generator sizes, connection points and electronic interfaces that add complexity to keeping the system stable. This includes cases of relatively high penetration of power from these resources on existing distribution systems.
EPRI research addresses these challenges by assessing feeder impacts, inverter interface devices, analytics, studies, monitoring, special applications, and developing strategies related to future business impacts. A primary objective is to expand utility hands-on knowledge to monetize the cost and value of distributed renewable generation without reducing distribution safety, reliability, or asset utilization effectiveness.
Demand response is a term that describes how distributed electricity can be managed during critical times through the use of signals. EPRI is assessing, testing, and demonstrating the application of technologies in integrated energy management control systems, linking smart thermostats, lighting controls, and other load-control technology with smart end-use devices to enable more sophisticated and effective demand response approaches in homes and buildings. Our research also offers our members an opportunity to work collaboratively with other utilities, government agencies, and manufacturers to define the requirements of end-use devices that are designed to be “out of the box-ready,” creating the potential for dramatic operational and cost benefits.
Energy Storage Integration CouncilEPRI's Energy Storage Integration Council provides a forum in which electric utilities guide discussion with energy storage stakeholders from across the industry.
EPRI's 2014 Technology Innovation Prospectus features advanced power generation technologies emerging from early-stage EPRI R&D.
EPRI has been a key participant and contributor in several industry wide efforts aiming to fulfill the need of integrating variable generation sources with the grid.
EPRI has developed an analytical tool that quantifies the value and assesses the cost-effectiveness of energy storage.
Issues of wind variability and ramping capabilities are explored in an EPRI analysis.
Contrary to popular belief, PV power plants are not maintenance free and require a routine of continual monitoring.