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ARPA-E grid and microgrid storage projects to be accredited by DNV GL

Grid storage and distributed energy technologies overseen by the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) in the US will be accredited by technical advisory service DNV GL for the next four years.

The arrangement between DNV GL and ARPA-A and their partners will see storage technologies tested and their performance modelled. Applications looked at will include using storage to integrate renewable energy sources to electricity networks and for improving grid stability and reliability. 

ARPA-E is the US government department responsible for promotion of research and development (R&D) and funding of advances in energy technology. Awards in recent times have included US$33 million for research into 13 fuel cell-based energy storage projects in June and last July awarded US$30 million worth of funding for new solar research programmes.

Meanwhile Germany-headquartered engineering and advisory firm DNV GL provides certification services to a number of industries including solar inverters, panels and assessment of solar irradiance at prospective project sites. DNV GL acquired PV module testing house PV Evolution Labs last year and in the storage space launched the consortium GRIDSTOR last summer, an open source framework of recommended practise for grid-connected energy storage systems.

The new accreditation programme will look at grid-scale storage and distributed energy applications, largely expected to involve microgrids. ARPA-E and DNV GL have asserted that storage technologies are likely to play an increasing role in the future of the grid, that storage technologies can assist the integration of renewable energy sources and that the industry requires objective testing and transparent evaluation of storage technologies in order to progress.

ARPA-E grid and microgrid storage projects to be accredited by DNV GL

DNV GL will partner with NY BEST, Group NIRE and CAR Technologies. Image: DNV GL.

DNV GL’s testing will be conducted at BEST Test & Commercialization Center (BEST T&CC), in partnership with the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY BEST). NY BEST works as both an industry association and an institute for technological advancement and research, with the centre jointly opened by the two organisations.

DNV GL and NY BEST, in partnership with renewable energy consultant and developer Group NIRE and battery testing house CAR Technologies, will provide third-party testing as well as expert oversight to evaluate grid storage technologies. The partnership will also use innovative analysis and testing methods, DNV GL said, with the programme titled Cycling Hardware to Analyze and Ready Grid-Scale Electricity Storage (CHARGES).  

Field testing will be conducted on a microgrid provided by Group NIRE, connected to a working wind turbine and the local distribution grid. In terms of modelling storage performance, DNV GL will use its tool, Microgrid Optimizer (MGO).

ARPA-E grid and microgrid storage projects to be accredited by DNV GL

US energy secretary Ernest Moniz described the solicitation for funds an extension of support for Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy policy. Image: US Department of Energy, cropped by Andy Colthorpe.

The announcement comes a few days after ARPA-E issued a funding opportunity for “disruptive new energy technologies” worth US$125 million. US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the programme, OPEN 15, in Washington on 7 January. The third such funding opportunity from the agency, with previous rounds in 2009 and 2012, the scheme’s open solicitation process means that technologies and ideas not already covered by existing ARPA-E programmes can also compete for funding.

In a statement launching OPEN 15, Secretary Moniz said that it was an extension of support for the US government’s “all-of-the-above” energy policy.

“We are excited to announce this open solicitation to support the development of a broad range of disruptive technologies, advancing our all-of-the-above energy strategy to ensure a secure, affordable and sustainable American energy future.”