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DOE Funding Efforts to Develop Medium-Voltage Power Distribution Capabilities

The Energy Department earmarked $35M to fund 12 projects aiming to deploy medium-voltage electricity for the electrical grid, transportation systems and other industry applications, DOE said Thursday. Eight of the projects will support the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy’s Building Reliable Electronics to Achieve Kilovolt Effective Ratings Safely program, while four initiatives will aid in the OPEN+ Kilovolt Devices effort. 

The BREAKER projects will focus on producing direct current devices capable of handling large amounts of power, prevent safety hazards, mitigate distribution losses and enable the optimization of renewable resources and energy storage. The Kilovolt Devices efforts will address a range of issues in medium-voltage power electronics, with a focus on fortifying grid security. 

“These ARPA‑E projects serve first and foremost to modernize how we move power around safely, reliably and efficiently, creating a new set of capabilities for tomorrow’s utilities and industry,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. 

DOE noted that most existing power distribution networks utilize alternating current instead of DC electricity. 

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