National Grid, PNNL to collaborate on transmission, energy storage

National Grid, a US transmission company, and the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have entered into an agreement to work together on research in the areas of transmission grid modernization and energy storage technologies.

The electricity industry is undergoing sweeping changes, including evolving customer expectations, proliferation of renewable and distributed energy resources, and state energy policies that are affecting what the transmission grid is being asked to do.

Both parties are focused on creating a robust, flexible, secure grid that will deliver the nation’s clean, reliable, and affordable energy future. They will collaborate on topics such as:

·      Grid-scale energy storage;

·      Advanced transmission network controls and monitoring;

·      Integration of distributed and renewable energy resources; and

·      Enhanced grid cyber protection.

“I’d like to congratulate National Grid and PNNL on today’s announcement,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Innovation partnerships with the private sector are critical to the groundbreaking work our National Labs undertake. DOE is committed to the modernization, reliability and resiliency of our grid and expanding energy storage research and this partnership is a great example of that commitment.”

“This collaboration is a natural outcome of our organizations’ mutual goal to optimize the benefits and value the transmission network can deliver to our customers, communities and country,” said Rudy Wynter, president and COO of National Grid’s FERC-regulated Businesses. “We are delighted to work with the experts at PNNL to make this vision a reality.”

“A reliable and resilient electric grid is critical to our national and economic security,” said PNNL Director Steven Ashby. “This agreement with National Grid will explore how to best integrate new technologies, like energy storage, onto the grid to improve grid reliability and resiliency in the face of severe weather events, cyber threats, a changing mix and types of electric generation, and the aging of the electricity infrastructure.”

The agreement envisions several options for cooperative efforts such as research opportunities; joint workshops, lectures, and symposia; and other forums to promote enhancements in technology, education and industrial development related to grid modernization and energy storage.

National Grid and PNNL’s partnership stems from participation in a DOE government/industry roundtable during the 2017 Earth Day Texas (EDTx) Expo and Conference. Secretary Perry and Sanjiv Malhotra, director of DOE’s Energy Investor Center, sought to bring senior energy, utility and investment executives together with lab leadership to explore potential areas of collaboration.

PNNL plays key leadership and research roles in DOE’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium, which is delivering new concepts and technologies to better measure, analyze, predict and control the future power grid. In the energy storage arena, PNNL’s research in vanadium redox flow batteries has led to technology licensed by eight companies. And PNNL’s grid cyber research includes work to establish information-sharing capabilities for grid business information technologies, providing situational awareness of cyber risks for the nation’s utilities.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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