Siemens and Three U.S. National Labs Join in Grid Modernization Effort

January 29, 2019 by Scott McMahan

Siemens Corporation and three Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories are partnering to conduct integrated experiments within their respective research and development facilities to ultimately strengthen and modernize the U.S. electric grid.

Work will be conducted at Siemens Corporate Technology, the company's central research and development unit located in Princeton, NJ, and DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The work will include testing and validation of novel software and hardware technologies intended to strengthen and modernize the nation's electric grid. Their joint efforts are expected to enhance the technological, scientific, educational, and industrial development of the power electronics needed for a reliable and economical power supply in the 21st century.

Siemens signed the partnership agreement, which was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and announced at the Innovation XLab Grid Modernization Summit in Seattle, WA. The MOU covers a five-year period with provisions to renew or extend the MOU.

The MOU sets a framework for research scientists to share information and resources, and potentially collaborate on technologies to help integrate innovative power electronic devices with the electric grid, such as smart inverters for solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicles that can support the nation's power system. The MOU may also lead to jointly-led scientific lectures, workshops, and symposia, as well as co-written journal articles and publications.

The potential collaboration is expected to use Siemens experience commercializing novel power system technologies. Siemens will supply its Software Defined Inverter (SDI) technology, which would be tested and validated at specialized grid facilities at the three national laboratories. According to Siemens, this promising new technology, once validated, could be incorporated into new technologies to strengthen and modernize the nation's electric grid, including microgrids and distributed energy resources including energy storage.

"Siemens is committed to developing innovative technologies needed to ensure that the power grid of the future is more resilient, secure, and capable of supporting distributed and low-carbon power generation assets," said Ulrich Muenz, Siemens Corporate Technology research group head. "Collaborating with the Department of Energy's U.S. National Laboratories and co-creating with the nation's energy community is crucial to modernizing and enhancing America's energy infrastructure."