Draft DOE budget proposes spending for transmission, power grid technologies

The Obama administration proposed its Fiscal Year 2017 budget for the U.S. Department of Energy Feb. 9, which includes an increase for DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability compared with the enacted FY16 budget.

That office contains programs for smart grid technologies, transmission and distribution reliability and resiliency, distributed energy resources, energy storage, cybersecurity efforts and other research and development programs.

The FY17 request, which is sent to Congress and subject to changes through the appropriations process, has $262.3 million proposed for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, a 27.3 percent increase from the $206 million in the enacted FY16 budget, DOE said in a Feb. 9 statement. The office aids grid modernization activities “to support a smart, resilient electric grid for the 21st century and fund critical emergency response and grid security capabilities,” DOE said.

Transmission spending efforts are littered throughout the DOE FY17 budget document, with some projects slated for increased funding from the enacted FY16 budget and others proposed to receive less funding compared with FY16.

For instance, the Clean Energy Transmission and Reliability program is proposed to receive $30.3 million in FY17 compared with $39 million enacted in FY16, while the Transformer Resilience and Advanced Components program is proposed to receive $15 million in FY17, a $10 million jump from the $5 million enacted in FY16.

The TRAC program is designed to mitigate power system vulnerabilities to geomagnetic disturbances and other challenges to fill a gap identified in the 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review and build on efforts identified in the 2015 Quadrennial Energy Review, DOE said.

The Clean Energy Transmission and Reliability program is focused on ensuring the reliability and resiliency of the U.S. electric grid through research and development on measurement and control of the electricity system and risk assessment to address challenges across integrated energy systems,” according to the FY17 budget document.

The request for that program “supports competitive awards to academia, national laboratories, and industry, and leverages resources of the DOE Office of Science and the National Science Foundation to advance scientific discovery,” while reducing funding for cost-shared industry demonstration projects and synchrophasor applications, DOE said.

The FY17 budget request supports ongoing implementation of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan and builds on the recommendations in the QER and QTR to enhance energy infrastructure, improve grid reliability and address increased integration of renewable resources in the nation’s generation portfolio, DOE said.

Elsewhere in the proposed DOE budget for FY17, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is slated to receive $2.89 billion, a 40.1 percent increase from the $2.06 billion in the enacted FY16 budget.

Energy storage in the FY17 request was proposed to receive $44.5 million, more than double the $20.5 million from the enacted FY16 budget.

Overall, the Obama administration proposed a DOE budget of $32.5 billion, a gain of $2.9 billion from the enacted FY16 level of $29.6 billion.

In a fact sheet, DOE said that other highlights of the FY17 budget include:

·      $6.1 billion for Environmental Management to address the obligation to clean up the nuclear legacy of the Cold War, including $271 million to maintain critical progress toward returning the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to normal operations, with the goal of restarting limited operations in 2016

·      $5.67 billion for Science to continue to lead basic research in the physical sciences and develop and operate cutting-edge scientific user facilities while strengthening the connection between advances in fundamental science and technology innovation

·      $2.89 billion, an increase of 40 percent, for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to continue a diverse suite of sustained investment in development of renewable generation technologies, sustainable transportation technologies, and manufacturing technologies; and in efforts to enhance energy efficiency in our homes, buildings and industries

·      $1.3 billion for 21st Century Clean Transportation to expand investment in transportation technologies of the future, establish regional fueling infrastructure to support the deployment of low-carbon fuels, and accelerate the transition to a cleaner vehicle fleet

·      $994 million for Nuclear Energy to support vital ongoing R&D in advanced reactor technology as part of a low-carbon future

·      $600 million for DOE’s Fossil Energy program to advance carbon capture and storage and natural gas technologies, and $257 million for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase the system’s durability and reliability and begin addressing the backlog of deferred maintenance

·      $8.4 million for the Office of Technology Transitions to help get technologies out of National Laboratories and to the market

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