University of Washington, - Smart Energy Decisions

September 7, 2021

Univ. of Washington Joins Group Exploring Grid Decarbonization

The University of Washington is collaborating with the Electric Power Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on advancing research on national grid decarbonization.

The initiative is funded through a $25 million award from the DOE and is targeting the decarbonization of the power sector through 2035. The group is leading an industry-wide Universal Interoperability for Grid-Forming Inverters (UNIFI) Consortium focused on developing such inverters to support the growth of renewable energy.

The consortium will together work on developing future inverter technology to improve the integration of solar energy, stationary energy storage, and wind power into the electric power grid. Its members also include:

  • Three DOE national laboratories
  • 11 North American universities, including Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (ANNH), Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI), and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI)
  • Six inverter manufacturers
  • Five simulation software vendors
  • Two North American system operators
  • Eight North American power system utilities

“This consortium will propel the innovations needed to realize the future grid based on massively decentralized power electronics,” Brian Johnson, assistant professor at the University of Washington, said in a statement. “Such a system will empower individual consumers with uninterruptible power at the home-level while also scaling both in a bottom-up and top-down manner to continental-scale grids. By collecting top researchers and industry leaders under one umbrella organization, we will be best positioned to work as a unified front towards this ambitious goal.”

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