R&D Quick Hits


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

Time for a “Time Guru”? Study Says Grid Reliance on “Precision Time” Offers Benefits and Cyber Security Vulnerabilities
Utilities increasingly rely on as they deploy more automation and time-dependent applications on the grid, according to an EPRI survey of 24 companies. Such systems can synchronize all grid data to support reliability, safety, and flexibility. Today, utilities typically require accuracy within 1 millisecond for such applications as digital fault recording, measurements, substation metering, and monitoring grid disturbances. They are planning significant deployment of network-based precision time protocol for synchronizing devices with sub-microsecond precision. Along with the grid benefits, such ...
Read More
By 2018, utilities should see significant improvement in smart glasses, helmets, and other augmented reality devices, concludes an EPRI study. “In the meantime, it is critical for companies to monitor technology developments, assess potential applications, and consider policy changes to accommodate new ways of working,” said EPRI Technical Executive John Simmins. While technological barriers remain, innovation is rapid. Near term, the EPRI study predicts improved computational power, reduced size and power consumption, and breakthroughs in devices’ optics, lenses, and sensors. Vendors will introduce new options for connectivity, charging, and security, and ease of use will improve with new ...
Read More
Uncertainties in a Changing Energy Grid Call for New Methods to Schedule Maintenance Outages
If your job were to repair potholes in a road where “rush hour” can happen at any time of day, you would need to be ready at a moment’s notice and watch oncoming traffic carefully. Power plant and transmission system owners face a similar challenge today: With more renewables impacting the use of the grid and other generation resources, it’s becoming much more difficult to schedule maintenance-related outages. EPRI has documented these challenges in a recent report and is examining the need for more ...
Read More
Field Tests Indicate Up to 30% Energy Boost for Bifacial Solar Modules
"Bifacial" solar modules offer the promise for greater electricity output, but they face significant challenges to widespread adoption, according to an EPRI technology assessment. A key R&D focus in solar is increasing electricity generation over the lifetime of a solar power plant, and bifacial solar modules represent a potential step forward. Under controlled experimental conditions, these modules can boost power generation by as much as 50% relative to traditional modules, but field tests suggest an increase of 5–30%. The wide range is a result of factors ...
Read More
EPRI Demonstrates Comprehensive Method to Model Benefits and Costs of Distributed Energy Resources
Can solar and other distributed energy resources (DER) help utilities serve load growth and avoid infrastructure investment? The answer from an EPRI study: It depends on complex local factors, including load-growth rates, load variation over time, location and other characteristics of grid-connected DER, grid design, location and timing of grid upgrades, and environmental conditions. DER may benefit the grid in some cases, but not others. Following the approach described in EPRI’s Integrated Grid Benefit-Cost Framework, researchers modeled feeders in distinctly different distribution grids—Con ...
Read More