Electricity delivery infrastructure is critical for ensuring reliable electricity service to homes and businesses. Planning and operating this infrastructure is complicated by a variety of technical and institutional factors. The U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) provides national leadership to ensure that the nation’s energy delivery system is secure, resilient, and dependable. OE supports technical research, facilitates industry cooperation, and provides technical support to state governments and industry stakeholders.

LBNL conducts research and provides technical assistance to OE on key aspects of electricity transmission.

Interconnection-wide Transmission Planning Support

In an era of competitive electricity markets, merchant generation, long-distance transport of electricity from renewable sources, and policies that affect the planning and use of bulk power systems, transmission planning is taking on an important regional dimension. LBNL provides technical support to U.S. DOE on many aspects of regional transmission planning. This includes monitoring the progress of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded interconnection-wide transmission planning and related activities, and preparing technical analyses.

Transmission Usage and Congestion

Congestion of the electricity transmission system impedes delivery of reliable power to consumers. LBNL supports U.S. DOE with research on congestion metrics, historical congestion, and systematic methods of collecting information on future congestion. LBNL also provides technical support to U.S. DOE for preparation of congressionally mandated, triennial congestion assessments, including the 2006, 2009, and 2012 U.S. DOE National Electricity Transmission Congestion Studies.

Bulk Power Reliability Data and Trends

Good data on bulk power system performance are essential for analyzing and tracking the reliability impacts of policies, investments, and operating practices. LBNL is conducting research on metrics of bulk power reliability as well as means for consistently and comprehensively collecting reliability data. LBNL coordinates these efforts with – and provides support to – the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

Blackout Investigations

Investigations of major power blackouts require months of technical work and coordination. LBNL provided technical support to the U.S. DOE-appointed team investigating power outages that took place during the summer of 1999 and participated in the U.S.-Canada investigation of the 2003 Northeast blackout.

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