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Sandia Lab and PNM Agree to Test Tech to Modernize and Secure the Grid

image credit: Sandia engineer Matthew Reno examines panels at the Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory. Photo by Randy Montoya

Sandia National Laboratories and utility PNM  signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to collaborate in the fields of energy storage, solar photovoltaics, power electronics, energy conversion systems, economic and life-cycle analyses, artificial intelligence and machine learning, computational simulation and sensor technologies.

 The umbrella research agreement between PNM and Sandia is intended to spark collaboration related to local electric grid modernization while also addressing national energy distribution concerns.

Under the agreement, Sandia will develop and test technologies for resiliency and to meet its national security mission. The work is in line with the labs’ $40 million, seven-year Resilient Energy Systems Mission Campaign. PNM will focus on achieving goal of 100% emission-free generation.

The first joint project, scheduled to last five years, will identify the tools needed to assess current and future energy storage technologies in an integrated, nearly statewide grid, and will conduct computer modeling and simulations and other analytic exercises to identify priorities. Sandia will examine research and development opportunities for the longer term, with a focus on energy storage technologies and analytics. The project will explore a range of storage technologies, such as batteries, thermal storage, hydrogen and others that can provide grid resilience on timescales that extend from seconds to seasons.

In later projects, the partners will look at technologies that may provide greater flexibility in the electric system and enhance the efficient use of emissions-free generation technologies. Work may include networked microgrids, virtual power plants, highly efficient distributed and centralized storage systems, and reconfigurable grid architectures that provide added resilience.

Another project will test different threats to the electric infrastructure, such as an intentional cyber or physical attack on the grid.

 

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