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What Does a Futuristic, “Smart” Grid Look Like? How Would It Function?

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that his administration will make available $3.4 billion to modernize the U.S. electric power grid. For questions about what a modern “smart” grid would look like or how it would function, please consider the research expertise of Alan Mantooth, professor of electrical engineering and executive director of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (NCREPT) at the University of Arkansas.

In 2005, two years after the catastrophic power failure in the Northeast, Mantooth received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Gridworks Initiative to investigate and develop purely electronic systems to replace outdated and obsolete electro-mechanical devices on the nation’s power grid. The grant allowed Mantooth his colleagues, who have many years of research expertise in advanced power electronics, to establish NCREPT. Since 2005, the center has received additional funding to develop systems – such as a fault current limiter, which isolates power failures and prevents surges without interrupting power to the consumer – to modernize the nation’s power grid.

For more information, please visit these relevant links:
• (faculty Web site)
• (news release: “Stimulus Funds Will Help Researchers Modernize the National Power Grid”)
• (news release: “Preventing Blackouts”)
• (news release: “National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission Receives NSF Grant Award”).


Alan Mantooth, professor of electrical engineering; executive director, National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission
College of Engineering
Matt McGowan, science and research writer
University Relations

Matt McGowan | Newswise Science News
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