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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., has received a $1.23 million grant from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) to study how the electricity distribution grid might be affected by the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources.

The award is being made through NYSTAR's Centers for Advanced Technology Development Program. It will support the two-year project that is designed to help understand the potential effects of meeting New York state's goal of reaching 25% of power generation through renewable energy sources by 2012. University researchers plan to build a test system on the Rensselaer campus, where they can attach a number of simulated renewable energy sources along with equipment that is susceptible to fluctuations in power output.

According to Nag Patibandla, Rensselaer's Center for Future Energy Systems' (CFES) director, the university is looking "to understand how the distribution grid functions at a high degree of renewable resources penetration."

Researchers at the CFES will be partnering with Sensitron Semiconductor of Deer Park, N.Y.; Inverters Unlimited Inc. of Albany, N.Y.; and Advanced Energy Conversion of Malta, N.Y. The project also will examine policy aspects of renewable resources penetration in partnership with the Pace Energy Project, part of Pace Law School's Center for Environmental Legal Studies.

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