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The Energy Analysis at NREL newsletter highlights the lab's analysts and analysis activities in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are having an impact on U.S. energy goals. The newsletter features recent publications and websites, updates to our models and tools, and staff activities. You can subscribe to receive the newsletter monthly by email.

November 2014


NREL Analysis Insights: Connecting the Dots between Energy, Economy, Environment, and Quality of Life


Affordable, reliable energy underpins the U.S. economy, security, and quality of life. Globally, growing populations and economic development are increasing demand for energy around the world, and climate change is altering our way of thinking about energy options. This latest issue of Analysis Insights (Making Sustainable Energy Choices: Insights on the Energy/Water/Land Nexus) synthesizes NREL's body of work—including analysis, data sets, and advanced integrated modeling capabilities—that is helping policymakers and investors around the world understand and evaluate energy choices within a complex web of connections between energy, water, and land.

An infographic illustrating the growing pressure of climate change and rising populations on land, energy and water use from the driving factors of a modern economy.

Connecting the dots. NREL helps illuminate the web of connections between energy, water, and land.


Fleet DNA: Accelerating the Evolution of Advanced Vehicle Development


Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Fleet DNA project aims to accelerate the evolution of advanced vehicle development and support the strategic deployment of market-ready technologies that reduce costs, fuel consumption, and emissions. This online tool—Fleet DNA—has been redesigned to better help vehicle manufacturers and developers optimize vehicle designs and to help fleet managers choose the most appropriate advanced technologies for their fleets. Fleet DNA provides data summaries and visualizations similar to real-world "genetics" for medium- and heavy-duty commercial fleet vehicles operating within a variety of vocations. A fact sheet provides additional information on Fleet DNA.

A screenshot of the Fleet DNA website.

NREL's Fleet DNA tool helps fleet managers choose the most appropriate advanced technologies for their fleets.


Technology Services Firm Releases Energy Dashboard Based on NREL's Energy DataBus


Amzur Technologies, Inc., a business consulting and IT services company, released eNOS, an open source, cloud-based energy dashboard built on the Energy DataBus platform developed by NREL. Like the Energy DataBus, the commercially released dashboard collects, stores, processes, and presents energy use data in real time. Currently, eNOS is in use in the Historic Green Village, a mixed-use campus of five LEED Platinum certified buildings in Anna Maria, Florida. Virtual-Strategy Magazine covered the Amzur release.


NREL Analysis and Analysts in the News


U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis was mentioned in The Washington Post's article, "Report: America could power itself 100 times over with solar energy."

Owen Reynolds, an economic analyst at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, made reference to NREL's Securitization in Solar PV Finance study in an EnergyBiz article titled "The Securitization of Solar."

"There's a consensus in the research community that 80 percent renewables is possible... the technical engineering knowledge has pointed in that direction."
— Trieu Mai quoted in the International Business Times regarding NREL's Renewable Energy Futures (RE Futures) study in "UN Climate Change Report: World Must Phase Out Most Fossil Fuels To Avoid Catastrophic Global Warming."

RE Futures was also mentioned in a GreenTech Media article, "The Future of Energy: How to Transition to a Renewable Economy" and the Christian Science Monitor's article, "Innovations in storage boost renewable energy."

Photovoltaic (PV) Pricing Trends: Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projections (2014 Edition) was the subject of PV Magazine's article, "Solar energy prices to drop by up to 12% in 2014" and Energy Industry Today's article, "Solar Energy Prices See Double-digit declines in 2013; Trend Expected to Continue." The report was also mentioned in "Smart grid markets: What the analysts say about EVs, metering and more" at SmartGridNews.com.


Recent Publications


NREL Report: Community Energy: Analysis of Hydrogen Distributed Energy Systems with Photovoltaics for Load Leveling and Vehicle Refueling
Authors: Darlene Steward, NREL; Jarrett Zuboy, Consultant

This report addresses hydrogen and fuel cell technologies that offer possible PV integration strategies, including community-level approaches such as: (1) using hydrogen production, storage, and reconversion to electricity to level PV generation and grid loads; (2) using hydrogen production and storage to capture peak PV generation and refuel hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs); and (3) a comparison scenario using a battery system to store electricity for EV nighttime charging.


NREL Report: Status and Trends in the U.S. Voluntary Green Power Market (2013 Data)
Authors: Jenny Heeter, NREL; with contributions from Kathy Belyeu, Consultant; Ksenia Kuskova-Burns, NREL

This report surveys utilities, competitive suppliers, renewable energy certificate (REC) marketers, and, for the first time, the community choice aggregation market concerning the voluntary market, which totaled 62 million megawatt-hours in 2013 (approximately 5.4 million customers are purchasing green power. The authors present data and analysis on voluntary market sales and customer participation, products and premiums, green pricing marketing, and administrative expenses; they also detail trends in REC tracking systems, REC pricing in voluntary and compliance markets, community and crowd-funded solar, and interest in renewable energy by the information and communication technologies sector.


NREL Report: Technical Feasibility Study for Deployment of Ground-Source Heat Pump Systems: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard—Kittery, Maine
Authors: Michael Hillesheim and Gail Mosey

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) is a United States Navy facility located on a series of connected islands in the Piscataqua River between Kittery, ME and Portsmouth, NH. The EPA engaged NREL to conduct a study to determine technical feasibility of deploying ground-source heat pump systems in order to help PNSY achieve energy reduction goals.


Conference Paper: Quantifying the Value of Concentrating Solar Power in a Production Cost Model
Authors: Jennie Jorgenson, Paul Denholm, and Mark Mehos

The authors examined a range of configuration parameters by varying the relative sizes of three separate parts of the concentrating solar power with thermal energy storage (CSP-TES) plant. They concluded that increasing the thermal energy storage capacity of a plant reduces spilled energy and increases the ability to deploy thermal energy to displace the most costly forms of conventional generation, and that reducing the ratio of solar collection field size to power block capacity (the solar multiple or SM) provides the most benefit to this test system per unit of energy produced.


Conference Paper: Costs and Benefits of Renewables Portfolio Standards in the United States
Authors: Galen Barbose, LBNL; Jenny Heeter, Lori Bird, NREL; Samantha Weaver, LBNL; Francisco Flores-Espino, NREL; Ryan Wiser, LBNL

This paper examines recent costs and benefits of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) implementation, focusing on the net (or incremental) cost to utilities of renewables used for compliance with RPS targets from 2010-2012.


Brochure: Distributed Solar PV for Electricity System Resiliency: Policy and Regulatory Considerations
Author: Joyce McLaren

Distributed Solar PV systems have the potential to help increase the grid's resiliency in unforeseen events, such as extreme weather events and attacks. This brochure presents the role that distributed PV can play in electric grid resiliency, introduces basic system design requirements and options, and discusses the regulatory and policy options for supporting the use of distributed PV for the purpose of increased electricity resiliency.


Brochure: Advanced Inverter Functions to Support High Levels of Distributed Solar: Policy and Regulatory Considerations
Author: Joyce McLaren

This paper explains how advanced inverter functions (sometimes called 'smart inverters') contribute to the integration of high levels of solar PV generation onto the electrical grid and includes the contributions of advanced functions to maintaining grid stability. It also discusses policy and regulatory considerations associated with the deployment of advanced inverter functions.


Poster: Accessing Low-cost Capital Through Securitization
Author: Mike Mendelsohn

This poster summarizes NREL's endeavor to open capital markets through securitization via the Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) working group's efforts.


Poster: Banking on Solar: Debt Finance in Today's Distributed Market
Author: Travis Lowder

Recently, several entities have rolled out distributed solar-specific loan programs in the United States, distinct in terms of underwriting, loan terms, lender security interest, and other programmatic aspects. As the U.S. solar market matures, its financing options are expanding, and solar-specific loans stand to gain market share.


For the latest updates on information regarding energy analysis, visit the Energy Analysis website. You can also subscribe to the Energy Analysis at NREL newsletter using our simple online form.


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) aims to provide credible, objective data and insights that inform policy and investment decisions as energy efficient and renewable energy technologies advance from concept to commercial application. NREL analysis encompasses a broad range of scientific research and reporting activity in support of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), NREL programs and initiatives, and the analysis community.