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Smart Grid Research

Photo of three men in safety glasses looking at a computer screen.

Distributed grid integration researchers test smart grid technologies at NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility.
Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

While all of NREL's distributed grid integration research relates to the Smart Grid, NREL specifically conducts research on Smart Grid technologies, develops Smart Grid standards, and maintains a database of Smart Grid projects.

The Smart Grid is an automated electric power system that monitors and controls grid activities, ensuring the two-way flow of electricity and information between power plants and consumers and all points in between. The Smart Grid has an increased ability to sense, monitor, and, in some cases, control (automatically or remotely) how the system operates or behaves under a given set of conditions. In its most basic form, implementation of a smarter grid is adding intelligence to all areas of the electric power system to optimize our use of electricity.

NREL maintains a national database of Smart Grid and government-sponsored projects on the website. helps consumers and stakeholders find the tools and resources they need to understand the Smart Grid and the range of Smart Grid technologies, policies, and solutions.