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Distribution grid technology company gets $8.56 million in ARPA-E funding

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I've been a business journalist since 1985 when I received an MBA from Penn State. I covered energy, technology, and venture capital for The Philadelphia Business Journal from 1998 through 2013....

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  • Jan 13, 2021

A Vestal, N.Y. company that says its Tie Controller device allows neighboring power lines in a distribution grid to be operated as a networked platform has been awarded $8.56 million in the latest funding round of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP) program. 

ARPA-E’s parent agency, the Department of Energy, said in a press release that Switched Source will use the funding “to resolve remaining technology and commercial adoption risks by establishing the processes, infrastructure, and technology validation to bring a game-changing ARPA-E technology to the utility market.”

In the press release, the DOE said the next step that Switched Source needs to take to bring its technology to market is to show that the technology works “through structured demonstration projects on partner utility electric distribution systems, with third-party performance evaluations.”

The DOE says Switched Source’s distribution automation technology is for large commercial and industrial customers and electric utilities and cost-effectively improves the electric distribution grid’s reliability, resiliency, and distributed generation hosting capacity.

On its website, Switched Source says its Tie Controller device would allow distribution grid operators to reduce the time of some outages by enabling a line affected by a fault to borrow some excess capacity from a different line, even if the two lines have different voltages or phase angles.

Switched Source also says the Tie Controller can enable what it calls legacy infrastructure to more easily accept and fully utilize distributed energy resources; balance loads between neighboring circuit feeders and/or substations; and be used to quickly couple an entire circuit feeder directly to a genset installation.


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