R&D Quick Hits


Facts, Figures, and Findings from EPRI Research, Reports, and Other Sources

According to an EPRI Quick Insights paper, a new approach for purchasing solar power generation in Hawaii offers potential to enhance grid flexibility while reducing financial risks for plant owners. With many solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) today, utilities pay plant owners per kilowatt-hour of output, which can result in reduced payments for owners when the utility needs to curtail output for grid balancing. As part of its plans for eight solar facilities totaling 275 megawatts coupled with battery energy storage, Hawaiian Electric has developed a new PPA structure in which it pays plant owners a ...
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Drone-mounted technology can be used to inspect concrete structures at nuclear power plants with the same degree of accuracy as traditional inspection methods, an EPRI field demonstration showed. Historically, when nuclear plant technicians inspect containment buildings, cooling towers, and other large concrete structures, they may use scaffolding, hanging platforms, or to gain access—or even rappel from the top. These approaches increase risk of worker injury. The use of drones can reduce risk, costs, and disruption of plant operations. EPRI field-tested the use of drones equipped with various payloads to inspect a containment building at a nuclear ...
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A new EPRI tool can help utilities answer this question. Transmission planning increasingly is driven by needs associated with grid-connected variable renewable energy resources. Transmission infrastructure, particularly in remote areas suitable for large wind and solar capacity, may nevertheless be limited with respect to the amount of new generation that can be accommodated without exceeding thermal or voltage limits. EPRI’s Transmission Tool builds on similar EPRI software for distribution systems. It enables utilities to screen various scenarios for generation, load, , and grid conditions and to gauge where and how new generation could impact the system’s thermal and voltage performance ...
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Nuclear “microreactors” offer unique capabilities for displacing diesel power generation in numerous applications and for supporting critical infrastructure, according to an EPRI Emerging Technologies Brief. While most commercial nuclear reactors today produce more than 1,000 megawatts of power, microreactors (also known as very small modular reactors) range in capacity from kilowatts to less than 50 megawatts (most are in the 1–10 megawatt range). Unlike their larger counterparts, they are designed for full factory fabrication and rapid deployment, reducing cost and schedule uncertainty. Simplified heat removal and safety systems and stable reactor cores can reduce accident risks, ...
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In the future, artificial intelligence could help grid operators avoid outages. In a preliminary EPRI study, machine learning techniques showed promise in their ability to accurately identify events on the power grid by analyzing massive amounts of data. Over the past decade, utilities have deployed thousands of in grids across the United States. These collect synchronized voltage and current measurements (known as synchrophasors) 10–60 times per second. For grid operators, these data can potentially provide better awareness of real-time conditions, help integrate renewable energy, and help detect and identify problems before they lead to outages. Machine learning seems ...
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