DOE offers $18 million to fund for Flexible Innovative Transformer Technologies

department of energy funding

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced an $18 million funding opportunity for Flexible Innovative Transformer Technologies (FITT). Through this funding opportunity announcement, DOE will select up to nine awardees that are able to research, develop and demonstrate advanced transformers across a range of distribution to transmission scale applications, improving grid reliability and easing transformer supply chain constraints.

Both distribution and transmission transformers can increase or decrease voltage, ensuring electricity is safely delivered from power sources to homes and businesses at the correct voltage level. Selected FITT projects will develop technologies that can provide real-time monitoring of voltage, current and temperature, ensuring a more reliable grid by enabling grid operators to immediately detect and address grid issues.

These projects will also address transformer supply chain constraints. Transformer manufacturers cite materials, equipment, and labor shortages as the reasons for long procurement lead times. New flexible, adaptable, and modular transformers can improve long-term replacement needs.

“As we advance a 21st century electric grid to power America’s communities, next generation improvements to transformer designs will ensure that low-cost clean energy is abundant and available for everyone,” said Gene Rodrigues, Assistant Secretary for Electricity. “More flexible and adaptable grid components will increase grid resilience at lower cost and reduce supply chain challenges facing the utility sector.” 

DOE’s Office of Electricity (OE) and the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) are co-funding this program, contributing $16 million and $2 million, respectively.

This funding program has two areas of interest for applicants to address the technical challenges of advancing the current state of transformers in the U.S. power grid:

  1. Research, develop, and demonstrate activities for advanced distribution transformers — like flexible, modular, scalable, hybrid or solid state — across a range of distribution scale functions.
  2. Research, develop, and demonstrate activities for advanced power transformers — like flexible, modular or scalable — across a range of transmission scale functions.

Interested parties may apply for this funding at FedConnect. Applications are due April 14. DOE expects to announce the selectees in late summer.

FITT funding applicants must demonstrate a process for evaluating the prototype performance and extrapolating results to the targeted power and voltage ratings of the final design. Prototypes must also demonstrate high efficiency, variable/controllable impedance, and the ability to accommodate a range of high-side and low-side voltages. Projects are expected to involve hardware development, testing and model validation, and modeling and analysis to evaluate the performance and economics of proposed designs.

The Office of Electricity pioneers advanced technology to develop a more resilient, reliable, secure, and affordable grid. Learn more about the office’s work here.

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