Thursday, April 6, 2023 

Program Summary

Key information at a glance: 

Opportunity Title: Grid Overhaul with Proactive, High-speed Undergrounding for Reliability, Resilience, and Security (GOPHURRS)
Opportunity Number: DE-FOA-0003047
Agency: Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), Department of Energy (DOE)
Type of Award: Cooperative Agreements and Grants
Total Program Funding: $40 million
Award Range: $250,000 and $10 million
Cost Share: 20%
Expected Number of Awards: 10-14 awards
Deadline for Concept Papers: May 9, 2023, 9:30 AM ET
Deadline for Full Applications: Est. 45 days after encourage/discourage notification, determined by Concept Paper

Looking for assistance with your application? Click here to learn how CFS can help.  

Program Overview 

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $40 million in competitive funding for the Grid Overhaul with Proactive, High-Speed Undergrounding for Reliability, Resilience, and Security (GOPHURRS) program. This new ARPA-E program supports the development of cost-effective, high-speed, and safe undergrounding technologies to strengthen the system reliability for distribution grids by undergrounding electric power lines in urban and suburban areas.

     The GOPHURRS program aims to accelerate grid expansion and improve the reliability, resilience, and security of power infrastructure through the adoption of new undergrounding technologies, advanced underground obstacle sensors, and error-free installation of cable joints. The goal of the program is a 50% total cost reduction of underground power installation by automation, damage prevention, and elimination of human error during installation.

Specific technology categories include:  

  • High-speed construction tools with maneuverability to install underground conduits with minimal disruption to the surface, where the installed conduits are suitable for pulling medium voltage (5 – 46 kV) power cables;  

  • Sensors that characterize near-surface geology, underground obstacles, and existing underground infrastructure in order to assist underground construction operations at the required speed and to minimize risk of utility strikes and cross-borings; and  

  • Automated cable splice installation systems as well as novel splice designs to ensure error-free and safe installation of cable joints. 


Key Priorities & Objectives 

The GOPHURRS program outlines the following technical objectives:  

Build with speed and efficiency: automate and concurrently drill and install conduits to avoid long disruptions on the surface and to reduce non-productive time.  

Build with underground intelligence: nondestructively 'day-light' all buried utilities and other obstacles to avoid utility strikes and cross-bores and to put an end to the practice of building blindly.  Ensure equitable investment in the safety needs of underserved communities, which includes both underserved urban and rural communities; 

Eliminate human errors: automate the job site operations and procedures of component installations that are prone to human errors.


Technical Categories and Goals:  

Category 1: Autonomous Drilling/Casing Tools 

  • develop cost reducing construction tools with the ability to underground medium voltage power cables within >5” I.D. conduit at depths of up to 6 feet safely,

  • reduce surface disruptions

  • increase the speed of trenchless installation by reducing inefficiencies


Category 2: Look-ahead Sensing and Utility Surveying In Advance 

  • Category 2.1 Real-Time Look-Ahead Sensors 

    • Adapt methods and systems, either existing look-ahead systems or surface-based geophysical methods, in order to guide and assist near-surface drilling/underground construction system operation

    • Sensors should provide real time measurements and feedback to an operator or autonomous system

  • Category 2.2 Utility Surveying in Advance 

    • Focus on advanced/disruptive methods to improve the speed and efficiency of surface surveys for utility measurements. 

    • Produce a highly accurate digital twin of the subsurface prior to undergrounding work that can be quickly produced, less disruptive, and at low cost 


Category 3: Error-free Cable Splicing 

  • Category 3.1 Automated Joint Installation

    • Development of technology that will greatly increase the repeatability of the splicing operation, eliminate errors, and increase the reliability of underground electrical systems. 

  • Category 3.2 Advanced Splices

    • Development of advanced medium voltage splice designs that will make the installation process less prone to error, faster, or improve the insulating capabilities or conductor connections and could also be designed to support a more automated installation process



Eligible applicants for the program are as follows:

  • U.S. Universities,

  • National Laboratories,

  • Domestic Entities,

  • Foreign Entities, and

  • Individuals 

Cost Matching: 20% of the total project cost. 


Key Dates 

Submission Deadline for Concept Papers: May 9, 2023, 9:30 AM ET

Deadline for Full Applications: Est. 45 days after Encourage/Discourage notification (based on Concept Paper)



View the Opportunity here.

Visit the GOPHURRS website here.

Read the Press release here.