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  • Writer's pictureTom Kenny

DOE - OPTIMA (Inverter-Based Resource Management for Future Power Systems) - $30M Available

On April 20, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the Operation and Planning Tools for Inverter-Based Resource Management and Availability for Future Power Systems (OPTIMA) funding opportunity, which will award $30 million in funding for projects that address emerging challenges and opportunities for grid planning and operation engineers and technicians arising from the power system’s transition to variable renewable energy sources and inverter-based power electronic grid interfaces.

Projects will develop new state-of-the-art planning and operations tools to enable solar energy to be more optimally and reliably integrated and utilized within the electric power grid, providing Americans with more affordable and secure sources of clean energy. These research activities will help increase the resilience of energy systems with increasing amounts of renewable energy, which will help meet the Biden administration’s goals for achieving a decarbonized electricity sector by 2035.

DOE expects to make between 9 and 13 awards under OPTIMA, each ranging between $2 and $4 million. SETO seeks diverse teams of research and development partners, such as universities and national labs, industry partners, such as original equipment manufacturers and software vendors, and electric industry stakeholders, such as transmission and distribution utilities and independent system operators. Additionally, SETO encourages the participation of underserved communities and underrepresented groups.

Topic Areas:

Topic Area 1: Planning Tools for Future Power Systems – 3-4 projects, $2-2.5 million each

Projects will develop new tools and methodologies for grid planners to incorporate the dynamic features of variable renewable energy resources, inverter-based resources, and distributed energy resources to improve long-term planning of the bulk power system. These tools will also address the impact of cascading disturbance events (like long-term extreme weather conditions) on variable renewable energy resources, the stability impact of high amounts of inverter-based resources, and the need for accurate modeling and estimation of aggregated distributed energy resources in system net loads.

Topic Area 2: Variability Management in Grid Operations – 3-4 projects, $2.5-3.5 million each

Projects will develop tools for grid operators to optimally utilize and control large-scale, transmission connected variable renewable energy resources, as well as large numbers of distributed energy resources, to achieve more reliable and predictable operation of the grid. This includes solutions for the bulk power system that improve the scheduling and dispatch of resources and services, as well as solutions at the distribution or aggregator level to improve the flexible real-time dispatch and optimal utilization of variable renewable energy resources.

Topic Area 3: Rapid System Health and Risk Assessment Tools for Grid Operators – 3-5 projects, $2.5-4 million each

Projects will develop and demonstrate tools for grid operators, and the data and communication systems that support them, to identify and mitigate emerging system risks that are driven by the faster dynamics and uncertain control interactions of inverter-based resources. These tools will need to ingest data from multiple data sources, including existing and new sensors, to create data sets that allow for quick analysis to produce improved grid situational awareness. Visualization tools developed in this topic should provide operators accurate estimations of system state.

Teaming Partner List

DOE is compiling a “Teaming Partner List” to facilitate the formation of new project teams for this funding opportunity. The Teaming Partner List allows organizations who may wish to participate on an application to express their interest to other applicants and to explore potential partnerships. Updates to the Teaming Partner List will be available in the EERE eXCHANGE website. The Teaming Partner List will be regularly updated to reflect new teaming partners who provide their organization’s information.

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS: Users will see a new section, “Teaming Partners”, within the left-hand navigation in eXCHANGE. This page allows users to view published Teaming Partner Lists and any interested party that would like to be included on this list should submit a request within eXCHANGE to join the teaming partner list. Select the appropriate Teaming Partner List from the dropdown and fill in the following information: Investigator Name, Organization Name, Organization Type, Topic Area, Background and Capabilities, Website, Contact Address, Contact Email, and Contact Phone.


SETO will host an informational webinar on May 4 at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

Key Dates

FOA Issue Date: 4/20/2023

Informational Webinar: 5/4/2023 3 p.m. ET. Register.

Submission Deadline for Concept Papers: 6/5/2023 5 p.m. ET

Submission Deadline for Full Applications: 8/15/2023 5 p.m. ET

Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments: 9/13/2023 5 p.m. ET

Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications: December 2023

Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations: December 2023 – April 2024

Grant Management Associates has years of experience with opportunities like this one. Contact us today for a consultation.

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