Photo: flickr/PROMartin Fisch

Photo: flickr/PROMartin Fisch

The transformation of the electric grid to a “smart grid” has largely focused on applying advanced digital information and communication technologies to improve the grid’s security, reliability, and flexibility. However, this transformation is also changing the demands placed on the hardware — such as transformers, conductors, and protection equipment — that the grid relies on. Advances in grid hardware components are needed to achieve the full benefits of grid modernization.

Energetics has supported this movement by providing technical and strategic planning services to the Transformer Resilience and Advanced Components (TRAC) Program through a contract with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. TRAC is a U.S. Department of Energy program, housed in the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), that accelerates the modernization of the grid by addressing challenges with large power transformers and other critical grid components.

Energetics drew on its strong facilitation and strategic planning skills and deep technical expertise to develop a Vision and Strategy document that clearly communicates the goals established, strategies employed, and key activities to be undertaken by the TRAC program over the short, mid, and long term.

The document identifies four high-impact technical areas in which the TRAC progam will pursue activites to fill research and development (R&D) needs:

  • Advanced transformers
  • Low-cost power flow controllers
  • Enhanced sensors and Intelligence
  • Advanced grid materials

The TRAC program Vision and Strategy document will soon be published on the TRAC program web page.

To complete the project, Energetics helped to plan, execute, and document two workshops that informed the Vision and Strategy. The first workshop focused on identifying advances in materials science that could improve the performance of electric grid components. The second workshop focused on identifying gaps in the landscape of grid transmission and distribution components, highlighting opportunities for R&D, and outlining goals and priorities. Following the workshops, Energetics synthesized the workshop results into a clear, coherent Vision and Strategy.

The Vision and Strategy document has been well received, and Energetics is scoping out a roadmap that will help the TRAC program achieve its vision.

Energetics is an energy and environmental consulting firm that applies its technical, policy, business, and managerial expertise and resources to the most challenging problems facing the world today. Energetics has technical expertise in a number of areas, including strategic planning and roadmapping, program and project management, and analysis and modeling.