Grid Modernization Research Cluster

The current grid infrastructure in the United States has served admirably through the more than 100 years since Edison, Tesla and many others implemented this to make electricity - called "the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th Century" by the National Academy of Engineering, and the backbone of a modern economy. Today we face a grid that needs to be repurposed for a system that moves away from a central generating model to one with distributed generation - many of them intermittent, and used in ways that minimize environmental impacts, enhance markets, improve reliability and service, reduce costs and improve efficiency. A key behind the vast changes underway is the consumer, who is playing a larger role in the communication and choice of power.

Simultaneously, the aging infrastructure has to be replaced with newer and smarter components but also with the ability to be resilient under extreme weather conditions. The Grids Modernization Cluster addresses all of the issues related to the implementation of smart grid and the impact on assuring reliable delivery of power, informing the consumer immediately of impending weather-related disruptions and speedy remediation, and managing distributed generation assets optimally to assure high standards of reliability are maintained. The Cluster team is focused on technologies that can assist the industry in minimizing the environmental impact, operating at high efficiency and keeping the lights on.


The Grid Research Cluster will build collaborations while developing and demonstrating technologies to modernize the power grid.


Develop a robust applied R&D portfolio, enhance the energy workforce, and build an energy curriculum

Grid Modernization

Power Systems Modernization, Smart Grid, Renewable Resource Development & Integration

  • Digital Fault & Hardware in the Loop Simulation
  • Smart Grid Technologies– Automation, Microgrids
  • Grid Security
  • SmartGen Analytics--Equipment Health Diagnostics and Prognostics
  • SE Grid Modernization - CAPER

Smart Grid Technologies

  • Better use of existing transmission corridors- Transmission Efficiency
  • Smarter integration of renewable/storage technologies- Optimized Strategy
  • Better tools to “see” across the grid – Situational Awareness
  • Developing cost-effective cybersecurity methods- Risk Quantification

Flex Lab Capabilities

  • High Power (5MW) Grid Simulator Setup for AC (690 VAC) and DC (1000 VDC) systems
  • High Voltage (500 kV class equipment) Type Test System
  • Dynamometer (Motor-Generator) Test Bed
  • Utility-Grade Medium Voltage (4160V) Equipment Evaluation

SE Grid Modernization - CAPER

  • SE Grid Modernization Challenges
  • Integrated university-industry participation
  • Industry Advisory Board

Grid Resilience & Security

  • Grid resilience through innovative methods in prevention & recovery
  • Risk Quantification Methodology Developed
  • Hardware in the Loop (HIL) testing capability
  • Risk Triaging Strategy Developed

SmartGen Analytics Initiative

  • Advanced Pattern Recognition for Equipment Run/Repair/Replace Decisions
  • Develop Technical Basis
  • Develop course curriculum to educate a future workforce


  • Develop grid-parity renewable energy technology
  • Demonstrate advanced control of renewable resources under field conditions
  • Collaborate with entrepreneurs, industrial partners for go-to-market strategies
  • Working with Incubator Firms
    • Sunshot Initiative
    • UNCC Portal

  Cluster Team