The project was developed to create a resilient energy grid that incorporates different types of power sources.
The Energy Department’s moonshot research office is helping Puerto Rico rebuild its power grid to be more efficient and better equipped to handle future natural disasters.
ProsumerGrid, an organization funded by the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, is working with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority build a more resilient and efficient energy grid after Hurricane Maria knocked out power across the island last fall.
In 2016, ARPA-E awarded ProsumerGrid $3 million to develop software to simulate how power would be distributed across a grid that connects to non-traditional sources, like solar panels, wind turbines and battery systems. With the project nearing completion, the ARPA-E announced the company will advise Puerto Rican officials in designing a more resilient, modern energy infrastructure.
The software lets experts “develop novel grid designs tailor-made for their strategic objectives and policy requirements,” increasing reliability across the system, the agency said in a statement.
ARPA-E sought to build the software as renewable energy and other power sources increase uncertainty in the power grid, the group said in a statement. As the sector moves away from central generators to a more distributed system, operators will need more control over how energy flows to different areas of the grid.
More than 20,000 Puerto Ricans remain without power as the island straps in for the next hurricane season. The Army Corps of Engineers officially ended its post-Hurricane Maria energy restoration mission on Friday.