Goal: To develop and implement a comprehensive Sandia program to support the modernization of the U.S. electric grid, with a focus on security and resiliency.
Our nation’s energy infrastructure faces two foundational challenges as we seek our vision toward an energy independent and secure future. First, the electricity transmission and distribution networks have not significantly changed since their initial creation over a century ago. It is clear that new approaches are required for the grid to accommodate the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Second, the reliability and resilience of our grid is central to our economic and national security. Robust and secure power is essential to key infrastructures that support our national defense and economy. Electricity outages presently cost our economy over $150 billion annually.
Modernizing our electrical grid is a tremendous undertaking, requiring the coordination and collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders spanning federal and local governments, the energy industry, electric utilities and—perhaps most importantly—the myriad of consumers. The ARRA program in 2009 made an initial and significant step towards grid modernization. Over $10B of investment was made in smart-grid build outs. Those investments are rapidly being implemented and there is now a great opportunity to build on the ARRA program towards true grid modernization. Sandia supports the DOE, DHS, and DOD efforts to modernize the electric grid by providing R&D of new transformational energy technologies; analyses of the technical, economic, and national security implications of the loss or disruption of critical civilian and military energy infrastructures; and assisting in the understanding and technology development of infrastructure protection and infrastructure disruption mitigation, response, and recovery options.