U.S. Department of Energy and European Energy Research Alliance Sponsor Smart Grid R&D Workshop

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) and the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) Joint Programme (JP) on Smart Grids jointly sponsored a smart grid R&D workshop that was held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on May 10-12, 2011, in Golden, Colorado.

The objectives of the inaugural workshop were to exchange information on the medium- to long-term smart grid research agenda, progress, and successes, and to identify research and development (R&D) coordination and collaboration opportunities among participating entities and programs. Representatives from four DOE national laboratories and coordinators of the four sub-programmes of the EERA JP on Smart Grids served on the workshop planning committee, which planned for this 2.5-day workshop program, followed by tours of R&D facilities at three national laboratories. Mr. Eric Lightner, Smart Grid Task Force director at DOE, and Mr. Luciano Martini, coordinator of the EERA JP on Smart Grids, served as the workshop co-chairs. More than 80 leading researchers and key electric utility stakeholders from both sides of the Atlantic and Japan participated in the workshop and discussed ongoing and future R&D in four smart grid R&D topic areas: network operation; energy management; information & control systems interoperability; and electrical storage technologies. From the workshop discussions, eight R&D collaboration opportunities were identified. Four of those gathered a majority of attendee votes, and working groups will be convened as the next step to further define the following key project elements for them: the objective, scope, schedule, key performance indicators, participants, and data needs/requirements. Furthermore, attendees suggested an additional 10 topic areas to warrant further discussions and/or be incorporated into the scoping of the four collaboration opportunities. The workshop report summarizing the workshop discussions and the resulting collaboration opportunities, with incorporation of all workshop presentations, is being prepared and will be made available to the public via publication on both the DOE and EERA JP websites. In view of the important benefits of international collaboration on smart grid R&D and overwhelming support from attendees for a forum like this to exchange information, both the OE and JP on Smart Grids plan to hold the workshop annually. The next workshop is planned for June 26-28, 2012, in Milano, Italy, and will be hosted by the EERA JP on Smart Grids.