WVU team receives ARC grant to develop smart utility grid technology in rural communities
Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded West Virginia University $1.5 million in funding to develop and deploy smart grid solutions and modeling services in rural parts of the eastern United States. This innovative project will lead to the formation of Smart Grid Deployment Consortium and HILLTOP+ Platform, which will test and model storage technology in smart grids and assist rural electric utilities by developing evaluation tools for energy storage.
Story by Kaley LaQuea, Communications Specialist
Photos by A. Srivastava
The project is funded by ARC's Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies, which fosters regional economic transformation through multi-state collaboration. Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering department chair Anurag Srivastava will manage WVU’s research in the project, alongside LCSEE faculty Parviz Famouri, Sarika Khushalani-Solanki and WVU Tech faculty Aboubakr Salem and Kenan Hatipoglu.
“We are thrilled and honored to receive this grant and look forward to working with a great team,” Srivastava said. “This funding will empower us to drive innovation in energy storage and grid integration, paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient energy future.”
WVU will work alongside a team of universities and organizations led by Tennessee Tech University and including partners across Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Tennessee. Tennessee Tech’s Center for Rural Innovation director Michael Aikens added, “Together we are taking significant steps towards a more sustainable and resilient future for the Appalachian region.”
“There is a lot going on with electric grids because we’re trying to make them more sustainable,” Srivastava said. “With renewable energy for example, when the sun is not there then we cannot produce solar power. If the wind is not there, we cannot produce wind power.”
The projects will develop technology to assist in the deployment of utility-scale batteries for utility cooperatives in rural areas of Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio. The technology will provide resources to rural utility cooperatives and help them mitigate the risks associated with deploying these new technologies, with the goal of widespread distribution and integration to harness renewable energy and diversify power sources within a utility grid.
Srivastava says the technology can store that energy when it’s produced in excess and will compensate for times when energy is not being generated from renewables.
“As we move towards this, we’re looking at a mix of energy that uses all of these, like clean coal and hydro and gas and nuclear and solar and wind,” Srivastava said. “The storage is there to smooth it out and reduce the cost of energy generation and make it more affordable for everyone.”
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office: