Essential services like hospitals and water treatment depend on energy distribution to ensure reliable and continuous operations. As the power grid evolves, becoming more connected and responsive, those new, smart devices can introduce greater cyber vulnerabilities.
To address this challenge, the power grid test bed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 890-square-mile Idaho National Laboratory has been transitioned to a more adaptive architecture. This enables greater flexibility in testing new ideas and technologies to better advance innovation to protect the nation’s energy distribution systems.
The expansion allows full-scale testing of new smart grid technologies and components. INL’s test bed was optimized to represent a majority of the nation’s grid voltage distribution systems. This affords utilities, vendors and others more opportunities to partner with INL on research and innovation to protect the grid and enable more resilient power distribution during adverse weather conditions or a cybersecurity event. The enhanced testbed supports tests on distributed energy resources and grid scale energy storage technologies. The expansion of capabilities includes robust wireless and fiber optic communications to support real-time sharing results from grid testing between INL’s remote site locations and its Idaho Falls labs.