The US Department of Energy (USDOE) has unveiled a plan to award up to $50m to its National Laboratories to support the early stage research and development (R&D) of new tools and technologies to further improve the country's energy infrastructure.

The grant is expected to help advance the development of energy grid infrastructures, as well as assist the oil and natural gas sectors within the US.

It represents the latest in a series of efforts by the DOE to achieve the fast development and widespread adoption of latest tools and technologies. 

Additionally, the new investment aims to help create a more resilient, secure, sustainable and reliable electricity system that is sufficiently capable of meeting future energy requirements in the US.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said: “A resilient, reliable and secure power grid is essential to the nation’s security, economy and the vital services that Americans depend on every day.

“As round-the-clock efforts continue to help communities recover from the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the need to continue strengthening and improving our electricity delivery system to withstand and recover from disruptions has become even more compelling.”

"A resilient, reliable and secure power grid is essential to the nation’s security, economy and the vital services that Americans depend on every day."

Portions of the new grant will be awarded to seven Resilient Distribution Systems projects for the development and validation of innovative approaches to improve the resilience of distribution systems, including microgrids.

DOE’s Grid Modernisation Laboratory Consortium (GMLC) will be responsible for awarding the grants, and the selected projects will seek to deliver the high penetration of clean distributed energy resources (DER) and emerging grid technologies on a regional scale.

The projects are also expected to demonstrate their viability to key stakeholders, who will eventually approve and invest in the grid modernisation activities.

DOE is also set to award a portion of the newly announced grant to 20 cybersecurity projects, which have been established to improve the reliability and resilience of the country’s electric grids and oil and natural gas infrastructure via the development of new, scalable and cost-effective cybersecurity solutions.

The technologies are expected to be used by the US energy delivery sector to meet its requirements in a cost-effective manner.

The final award amounts for all categories are subject to negotiation and US Congressional appropriations.