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With an emphasis on grid modernization and energy innovation, President Obama's fiscal year 2013 (FY 2013) budget includes slightly more funds for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The $27.2 billion budget request for the DOE represents a 2.3% increase over 2012, and includes money for smart grid technologies, energy-storage research and transmission initiatives.

"In light of the tight discretionary spending caps, this increase in funding is significant and a testament to the importance of innovation and clean energy to the country’s economic future," according to the budget proposal.

Sixty-million dollars has been set aside for research on energy-storage and battery systems. However, the energy-storage subprogram will receive $5 million less from the previous budget, due to what the administration says is scaled-back research on sodium-ion and lithium-ion batteries for community energy storage.

A smart grid research and development subprogram will receives $9.5 million less. The closeout of power electronics research for grid electronics at the DOE led to the decrease in smart grid funds. The department says it is now shifting its focus to current device compositions and foundational research by Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and the DOE's Office of Science.

The FY 2013 request includes $10 million for Advanced Modeling Grid Research, which focuses on computational and modeling capabilities in order increase understanding of the transmission grid.

The DOE identifies the following three goals in its effort to modernize the grid:

- install 1,000 synchrophasor measurement units by 2013 to allow for better understanding and control of the grid;

- deploy almost 26 million smart meters in homes and businesses by 2013; and

- reduce utility-scale energy-storage costs by 30% by 2015.

Funding levels for cybersecurity research and development for the energy sector were untouched because the administration says it recognizes that smart technologies have changed the way energy information is communicated and controlled.

"The choice we face as a nation is simple: do we want the clean energy technologies of tomorrow to be invented in America by American innovators, made by American workers and sold around the world, or do we want to concede those jobs to our competitors?" Energy Secretary Steven Chu stated in a press release.

The DOE also plans to implement strategies to manage its Cyber Security for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) subprogram, which focus on collaborating with all energy sector stakeholders, such as national laboratories, universities, technology vendors and energy asset holders. The budget request will also allow the CEDS subprogram to concentrate on networks and communications for the smart grid and advanced technologies to enhance cybersecurity of energy delivery platforms.

Research will also focus on the National SCADA Test Bed, a collaborative DOE initiative designed to secure SCADA and energy-related control devices.

Energy Frontier Research Centers have $120 million set aside in the budget, while five existing Energy Innovation Hubs will receive a total of $140 million. A new hub will focus on transmission and distribution systems.

Overall transmission funding will receive $1.9 million less due to the suspension of research that focused on integrating renewable resources. However, the administration states that the decrease is offset by an increase in funds (approximately $500,000) for the expanded development of computational capabilities for the grid.

For FY 2013, the DOE plans several transmission-related initiatives, including the use of simulation to create an interconnection that performs controlled separation of the grid to protect against widespread blackouts. The DOE's North American SynchroPhasor Initiative will also be demonstrated at grid control centers in the Western Interconnection.

The budget also includes funds to develop electric vehicle (EV) technology to reach a goal of putting one million EVs on the road by 2015. Research and development on batteries, electronics, electric motors and electric drive systems will be conducted in order to reduce the cost and improve the performance of EVs.

The full budget is available here.


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