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Dominic Gross
August 19, 2021

ECE faculty are part of $25 million consortium developing grid-forming inverters for renewable energy

Written By: Webmanager

Dominic Gross
Dominic Gross

Dominic Gross, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and emeritus professor Robert Lasseter are involved in a new five-year, $25-million award recently granted by the Department of Energy to the Universal Interoperability for Grid-Forming Inverters (UNIFI) Consortium.

The consortium is led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, the University of Washington and the Electric Power Research Institute. It is working on developing grid-forming inverter technologies. Currently, renewables like wind and solar are “grid following,” meaning that they adjust their voltage and frequency to match a “grid forming” source, usually a conventional power plant. However, as renewables make up a larger share of power, they need to the ability to start up and form the grid independently.

The UNIFI Consortium will focus on integrating these inverters into electric grids at any scale, to enable high penetration of inverter-based resources, like solar and wind. To achieve this, the consortium will work to identify and fill gaps in technologies, business models, standards, and human factors. In particular, UNIFI will conduct and coordinate research, development, and demonstration, as well as create educational‐ and workforce‐training materials focusing on planning, designing, and operating grids with a high level of inverter‐based resources. UNIFI will develop universal guidelines for seamless integration of grid-forming technologies.

Gross will serve as co-lead for control in the consortium and Lasseter is serving on its advisory board.