January 2013 Newsletter
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.
- Report explores the synergies between natural gas and renewable energy
- New version of SAM aids modeling of wind, PV, CSP, geothermal, and biopower
- NREL analysis and analysts in the news
- Recent publications.
Report Explores Synergies Between Natural Gas and Renewable Energy
NREL Report: Opportunities for Synergy Between Natural Gas and Renewable Energy in the Electric Power and Transportation Sectors
Authors: April Lee, Owen Zinaman, and Jeffrey Logan, NREL
Both natural gas and renewable energy have been touted as key elements of a transition to a cleaner and more secure energy future, but much of the current discourse considers each in isolation or concentrates on the competitive impacts of one on the other. This paper, instead, explores potential synergies between natural gas and renewable energy in the U.S. electric power and transportation sectors. The authors attempt to identify how the natural gas and renewable energy communities might:
- Promote a new systems approach to natural gas and renewable energy technologies
- Jointly research mutually beneficial policy and market structure options
- Communicate with each other, and jointly to the public, to clarify misconceptions.
U.S. natural gas production has increased in recent years
This report is the latest entry in a growing body of work by NREL and the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) looking at the impacts and implications of the U.S. shale gas revolution on domestic and global energy markets.
New Version of SAM Aids Modeling of Wind, PV, CSP, Geothermal, and Biopower
A new version of NREL's System Advisor Model (SAM)—a performance and financial model that makes performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects—offers many new features for modeling wind, photovoltaic (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), geothermal, and biopower systems.
The latest version lets users:
- Automatically download incentive data from DSIRE database
- Export cash flow to Excel with formulas
- Export data using new report templates
- Use typical wind data files for representative locations in the United States
- Estimate system costs using NREL wind capital cost model for onshore and offshore wind farms
- Take advantage of new life cycle emissions model for the biopower model
- Access more rates in utility rate database from OpenEI.
SAM displays monthly electricity generation and annual cash flow for a photovoltaic system.
NREL Analysis and Analysts in the News
NREL's Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST) now allows for modeling cash flows from anaerobic digestion (i.e., biogas) projects.
Harvard Magazine and New Energy News highlighted JISEA's recent report Natural Gas and the Transformation of the U.S. Energy Sector: Electricity. Additionally, Windpower Engineering and Development, Wyoming Business Report, and Design World quoted Garvin Heath on the report.
Cape Cod Times quoted the 2010 NREL report Large-Scale Offshore Wind Power in the United States in their article "What Would Sandy Do to Turbines?"
The Denver Post quoted Kristen Ardani in the article "Denver Recognized for Keeping Lid on Solar Installation Costs" about the recent DOE report Benchmarking Non-Hardware Balance of System (Soft) Costs for U.S. Photovoltaic Systems Using a Data-Driven Analysis from PV Installer Survey Results.
Articles in North American Clean Energy, Solar Power World, and Environmental Protection discussed two recent DOE reports: Photovoltaic (PV) Pricing Trends: Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projections and Benchmarking Non-Hardware Balance of System (Soft) Costs for U.S. Photovoltaic Systems Using a Data-Driven Analysis from PV Installer Survey Results.
SNL quoted Jenny Heeter about voluntary markets in their article "U.S. Needs 93 GW Renewable Power Capacity by 2035 to Meet States' RPS." (Login required)
ThinkProgress's article "U.S. Natural Gas Capacity Must Peak Soon to Achieve Sustainable Pathway" mentions NREL's Renewable Electricity Futures Study.
NREL recently launched the Exploration Cost and Time Metric tool, which graphically displays the cumulative impact of one or multiple research, development, and deployment (RD&D) efforts on exploration cost and time. The tool has been developed from industry research and was vetted through geothermal exploration experts as a useful baseline from which to measure funding impacts.
RenewableEnergyWorld.com reposted two NREL blogs: "Drilling for Dollars: Notable Developments in Geothermal Finance" and "To Insure or Not to Insure: PV's New Fangled Warranty Insurance Option," both by Travis Lowder.
Environmental Expert discussed Simulating the Value of Concentrating Solar Power with Thermal Energy Storage in a Production Cost Model, an NREL report by Paul Denholm and Marissa Hummon.
Presentation: Life Cycle GHG Emissions from Conventional Natural Gas Power Generation: Systematic Review and Harmonization
Authors: Garvin Heath and Patrick O'Donoughue, NREL; Michael Whitaker, ICF International
Presented at InLCA XII, this research provides a systematic review and harmonization of the life cycle assessment (LCA) literature of natural gas-fired electricity generation.
Conference Paper: Sub-Hour Solar Data for Power System Modeling From Static Spatial Variability Analysis: Preprint
Authors: Marissa Hummon, Eduardo Ibanez, Gregory Brinkman, and Debra Lew, NREL
This paper, presented at the 2nd International Workshop on Integration of Solar Power in Power Systems in Lisbon, Portugal, summarizes the research relating sequential point-source sub-hour global horizontal irradiance (GHI) values to static, spatially distributed GHI values.
Journal Article: Operational Water Consumption and Withdrawal Factors for Electricity Generating Technologies: A Review of Existing Literature
Authors: Jordan Macknick, Robin Newmark, Garvin Heath, and KC Hallett, NREL
This paper, published in Environmental Research Letters, evaluates water withdrawal and consumption values for all types of electricity generating technologies.
Journal Article: The Water Implications of Generating Electricity: Water Use Across the United States Based on Different Electricity Pathways Through 2050
Authors: Jordan Macknick, NREL; Sandra Sattler, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS); Kristen Averyt, University of Colorado-Boulder; and Steve Clemmer and John Rogers, UCS
This paper, published in Environmental Research Letters, utilizes outputs from the Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model to explore potential national and regional changes in water withdrawal and consumption by the U.S. electric sector over the next four decades under various low carbon energy scenarios.
NREL Report: Impacts of Regional Electricity Prices and Building Type on the Economics of Commercial Photovoltaic Systems
Authors: Sean Ong, Clinton Campbell, and Nathan Clark, NREL
NREL evaluated 207 rate structures across 77 locations and 16 commercial building types to identify the impacts of regional electricity prices and building type on the economics of solar PV systems.
Journal Article: Linking Electricity and Water Models to Assess Electricity Choices at Water-Relevant Scales
Authors: Sandra Sattler, UCS; Jordan Macknick, NREL; David Yates, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Francisco Flores-Lopez, Stockholm Environment Institute; Anthony Lopez, NREL; and John Rogers (UCS)
This paper, published in Environmental Research Letters, describes a platform for assessing power plant cooling water withdrawals and consumption under different electricity pathways by connecting ReEDS to a hydrologic and water management model—the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) system.
For the latest updates on information regarding energy analysis, visit the Energy Analysis website.