Publications and Websites
Clean Energy Solutions Center Website
The Clean Energy Solutions Center provides information on policy best practices, trends, and analysis tools. Rather than duplicating existing clean energy resources, the Solutions Center summarizes high-quality policy materials and assists users in identifying and moving the policy levers that will drive clean energy progress in their country. The Solutions Center is designed to be the first stop for comprehensive, high-quality resources on clean energy policies for energy efficient appliances, electric vehicles, building and industrial efficiency, wind and solar power, biopower and biofuels, smart grid, and low carbon communities, among other topics. It also offers peer-to-peer learning, remote expert assistance, and online training.
PV Cost Models
NREL analysts Alan Goodrich, Michael Woodhouse, and Ted James recently published the presentation "Solar PV Manufacturing Cost Model Group: Installed Solar PV System Prices." EERE's Solar Energy Technologies Program is charged with leading the Secretary's SunShot Initiative to reduce the cost of electricity from solar by 75% to be cost competitive with conventional energy sources without subsidy by the end of the decade. As part of this Initiative, the program has funded NREL to develop module manufacturing and solar PV system installation cost models to ensure that the program's cost reduction targets are carefully aligned with current and near-term industry costs. The NREL cost analysis team has leveraged the laboratory's extensive experience in the areas of project finance and deployment, as well as industry partnerships, to develop cost models that mirror the tools used by leading U.S. installers. The cost models are constructed through a "bottoms-up" assessment of each major cost element, beginning with the system's bill of materials, labor requirements (type and hours) by component, site-specific charges, and soft costs. In addition to the relevant engineering, procurement, and construction costs, the models also consider all relevant costs to an installer, including labor burdens and overhead rates, supply chain costs, and overhead and materials inventory costs and assume market-specific profits.
Clean Energy Deployment
Charles Kubert and Mark Sinclair of Clean Energy States Alliance, under NREL technical monitor Karlynn Cory, recently published the subcontract report "State Support for Clean Energy Deployment: Lessons Learned for Potential Future Policy." Proposed federal clean energy initiatives and climate legislation have suggested significant increases to federal funding for clean energy deployment and investment. Many states and utilities have more than a decade of experience and spend billions of dollars every year to support EE/RE deployment through programs that reduce the cost of technologies, provide financing for EE/RE projects, offer technical assistance, and educate market participants. Meanwhile, constraints on public expenditures at all levels of government continue to call upon such programs to demonstrate their value. This report reviews the results of specific incentives and financing tools used to encourage clean energy investment. Lessons from such programs could be used to inform the future application of EE/RE incentives and financing tools.
Attitudes about Renewable Energy
Natural Marketing Institute, under Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) technical monitors Lori Bird and Jenny Sumner, recently published the subcontract report "Consumer Attitudes about Renewable Energy: Trends and Regional Differences." The data in this report are taken from Natural Marketing Institute's (NMI's) Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability Consumer Trends Database. Created in 2002, the syndicated consumer database contains responses from 2,000 to 4,000 U.S. adults each year. The survey sample is nationally representative, meaning respondent demographics are consistent with U.S. Census findings. NMI used the database to analyze consumer attitudes and behavior related to renewable energy and to update earlier research. Specifically, this report will explore consumer awareness, concerns, perceived benefits, knowledge of purchase options, and usage of renewable energy. The report also provides regional comparisons and trends over time.
Breakthrough Clean Energy Innovation
SEAC analysts Thomas D. Perry IV and Mackay Miller, along with Lee Fleming of Harvard Business School, Kenneth Younge of the University of Colorado, and James Newcomb, formerly of NREL and now with Rocky Mountain Institute, recently published the technical report "Clean Energy Innovation: Sources of Technical and Commercial Breakthroughs." Low-carbon energy innovation is essential to combat climate change, promote economic competitiveness, and achieve energy security. Using U.S. patent data and additional patent-relevant data collected from the Internet, the analysts map the landscape of low-carbon energy innovation in the United States since 1975. In the report, they isolate 10,603 renewable and 10,442 traditional energy patents and develop a database that characterizes proxy measures for technical and commercial impact, as measured by patent citations and Web presence, respectively. Regression models and multivariate simulations are used to compare the social, institutional, and geographic drivers of breakthrough clean energy innovation. Results indicate statistically significant effects of social, institutional, and geographic variables on technical and commercial impacts of patents and unique innovation trends between different energy technologies. The analysts observe important differences between patent citations and Web presence of licensed and unlicensed patents, indicating the potential utility of using screened Web hits as a measure of commercial importance. The writers also offer hypotheses for these revealed differences and suggest a research agenda with which to test these hypotheses. These preliminary findings indicate that leveraging empirical insights to better target research expenditures would augment the speed and scale of innovation and deployment of clean energy technologies.
Wyoming Jobs and Economic Development
SEAC analysts Eric Lantz and Suzanne Tegen recently published the technical report "Jobs and Economic Development from New Transmission and Generation in Wyoming." This report is intended to inform policymakers, local government officials, and Wyoming residents about the jobs and economic development activity that could occur should new infrastructure investments in Wyoming move forward. The report and analysis presented is not a projection or a forecast of what will happen. Instead, the report uses a hypothetical deployment scenario and economic modeling tools to estimate the jobs and economic activity likely associated with these projects if or when they are built.
JEDI MHK Reference Guide
Marshall Goldberg of MRG & Associates and Mirko Previsic of RE Vision Consulting, under SEAC technical monitor Suzanne Tegen, recently published the subcontract report "JEDI Marine and Hydrokinetic Model: User Reference Guide." The Jobs and Economic Development Impact Model (JEDI) for Marine and Hydrokinetics (MHK) is a user-friendly spreadsheet-based tool designed to demonstrate the economic impacts associated with developing and operating MHK power systems in the United States. The JEDI MHK User Reference Guide was developed to assist users in using and understanding the model. This guide provides information on the model's underlying methodology, as well as the sources and parameters used to develop the cost data utilized in the model. This guide also provides basic instruction on model add-in features, operation of the model, and a discussion of how the results should be interpreted.
Floating Platform Concepts Modeling Tool
NREL recently published the fact sheet "New Modeling Tool Analyzes Floating Platform Concepts for Offshore Wind Turbines." Researchers at NREL developed a new complex modeling and analysis tool capable of analyzing floating platform concepts for offshore wind turbines. The new modeling tool combines the computational methodologies used to analyze land-based wind turbines with the comprehensive hydrodynamic computer programs developed for offshore oil and gas industries. This new coupled dynamic simulation tool will enable the development of cost-effective offshore technologies capable of harvesting the rich offshore wind resources at water depths that cannot be reached using the current technology.
Community Solar Guide
EERE recently published "A Guide to Community Solar: Utility, Private, and Non-profit Project Development." This guide is designed as a resource for those who want to develop community solar projects, including community organizers, solar energy advocates, government officials, and utility managers.
Solar Powering Your Community
The EERE Solar Energy Technologies Program recently published "Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments, Second Edition." DOE designed this guide to assist local government officials and stakeholders in designing and implementing strategic local solar plans. The 2011 edition contains the most recent lessons and successes from the 25 Solar America Cities and other communities promoting solar energy. Because DOE recognizes that there is no one path to solar market development, this guide introduces a range of policy and program options that can help a community build a local solar infrastructure.
For the latest updates on information regarding energy analysis, visit the Energy Analysis website.