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September 2013

Energy Systems Integration eNewsletter

As energy systems integration (ESI) rapidly gains momentum as a new science and the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) opens its doors for business, the past few months have been marked with important milestones at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). After announcing the ESIF as the newest U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) user facility in June, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz made a visit to NREL this month and officially dedicated the ESIF as the nation's first major research facility focused on clean energy grid integration and wide-scale deployment. Read on to learn more about the latest news surrounding ESI at NREL.

In this Issue

Energy Secretary Moniz Headlines September 11 ESIF Dedication

Photo of Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz standing in front of a podium with the U.S. Department of Energy seal.

Secretary Moniz visited NREL September 11 to dedicate the new ESIF. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

It was a dreary, rainy day—just the kind of variable weather that challenges NREL engineers working on solar technologies—but clouds didn't stop Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz from an important visit to the NREL campus on September 11.

Along with Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson and other key energy officials, Secretary Moniz visited NREL to dedicate the ESIF as the nation's first facility to help both public and private sector researchers scale up promising clean energy technologies. The dedication followed the June announcement of ESIF as the latest DOE user facility—and the only one in the nation focused on utility-scale clean energy grid integration.

"Strong partnerships between our national laboratories and America's private industry, academia, and entrepreneurs will help reduce the effects of climate change, increase the production of clean energy, and accelerate the development of new technologies," said Secretary Moniz. "The Energy Department has been at the forefront of large-scale computation and modeling, and new NREL supercomputing capabilities will support the groundbreaking science and innovation we need to address the effects of global climate change and pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future."

Photo of a group of people assembled in a large room at the ESIF; Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stands at a podium before the group.

The ESIF dedication was attended by a number of key energy industry executives. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

The dedication also included several key announcements. Secretary Moniz and NREL Director Dan Arvizu unveiled Peregrine—the newest DOE supercomputer. NREL collaborated with HP and Intel to develop the innovative warm-water, liquid-cooled supercomputer, which will reside in the new ESIF High Performance Data Center, which is designed to be the world's most energy-efficient high performance computing data center.

Secretary Moniz and NREL Director Arvizu also announced two new research collaborations at the ESIF with Toyota and the U.S. Army. NREL and Toyota will develop and explore ways to prepare grid operators and an energy infrastructure that accommodates the growing U.S. electric vehicle fleet. Also, under a research agreement with Wyle Labs, the U.S. Army's Rapid Equipping Force is funding NREL to complete a prototype solar, battery, and generator hybrid power system that provides electricity to forward operating bases.

For more information on the dedication, read the NREL feature story and the EERE progress alert.

New Power Systems Engineering Center at NREL Supports ESI

NREL recently announced the creation of a new center to support the science and technology goals of DOE and NREL toward a sustainable energy future: the Power Systems Engineering Center (PSEC). The center works with the electricity industry to optimize strategies for effectively interconnecting renewable resources and emerging energy efficiency technologies with the existing electric power system. The PSEC focuses on resolving grid integration barriers and providing improved control and management strategies for increased grid flexibility, consumer empowerment, and transportation electrification.

Dr. Santiago Grijalva is the newly appointed center director for the PSEC. He is a pioneer in distributed power system controls and cyber-physical energy systems and joins NREL from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he held the position of Georgia Power Distinguished Professor and Strategic Energy Institute Associate Director for Electricity.

"By leveraging the energy and computational infrastructure of the ESIF, and the grid integration expertise of NREL scientists, we are developing a unique research capability positioned to make a significant impact towards NREL's and DOE's mission," said Grijalva. "We look forward to interacting globally with industry, academia, and governments to tackle the challenges in electricity systems."

Learn more about the new PSEC and its team of scientists that are addressing the challenges of a sustainable energy future.

Image of the cover of the September-October 2013 edition of IEEE Power & Energy magazine.

The September/October 2013 issue of IEEE Power & Energy focuses on ESI.

NREL Guest-Edits Special ESI Edition of IEEE Power & Energy

NREL's Benjamin Kroposki served as guest editor for the latest edition of IEEE Power & Energy magazine, the bimonthly publication of the society for electric power professionals. The September/October 2013 issue, titled "Reaching for the Light: Energy Systems Come Together," focuses on the integration and optimization of energy systems, with six feature articles that provide background on the complex set of issues that accompany the applications of ESI in real-life settings throughout the world. The authors—three from Europe, two from North America, and one from Asia—span the disciplines of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, applied mathematics, computing, economics, geography, and policy, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of the ESI field. Throughout the issue, some of the most difficult energy challenges facing the world today are addressed with an integrated energy systems approach.

Access the issue on the IEEE Power & Energy website.

ESIF's Power Systems Integration Laboratory's Newest Partner

Photo of a large laboratory.

The PSIL at the ESIF.
Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Photo of workers standing in front of visualization screens in a laboratory.

Advanced Energy runs the first inverter testing at the PSIL in the ESIF.
Photo courtesy of DOE

At the ESIF's Power Systems Integration Laboratory (PSIL), research focuses on the development and testing of large-scale distributed energy systems for grid-connected, standalone, and microgrid applications. One of the largest laboratories in the ESIF, the PSIL can accommodate large power system components, such as inverters for solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind systems, diesel and natural gas generators, battery packs, microgrid interconnection switchgear, and vehicles.

In May, the PSIL hosted the first tests performed by an industry partner at the ESIF. Colorado-based Advanced Energy Industries tested its new PV inverter technology with the facility's utility-scale grid simulator and hardware-in-the-loop system in the PSIL. Solar inverters are responsible for a number of critical functions within a solar PV system, including converting the direct current output into alternating current for the grid. Advanced Energy's inverter will help support a smarter grid that can handle two-way flows of power and communication while reducing hardware costs. Watch a video on the Advanced Energy inverter testing at the PSIL.

Learn more about this versatile laboratory on NREL's interactive ESIF Web page and download the PSIL fact sheet.

Partner With Us

The ESIF, along with other supporting facilities at NREL, provides the transformative capabilities needed to advance the nation's energy system into a cleaner, more intelligent infrastructure.

The state-of-the-art facility, with its unprecedented integrated megawatt-scale testing and real-time simulation capabilities, is designed to allow NREL's world-renowned integration experts to work with a wide range of energy stakeholders to help develop, evaluate, and test their individual technologies before going to market–reducing the risks associated with early market penetration.

If you would like to partner with us on an energy systems integration project, the first step is to complete a detailed summary of your project using the Project Summary Form as a guide. The Project Summary Form requests information on your projects, including:

  • Goals
  • Expected outcomes
  • Scope
  • Schedule
  • Required resources.

Learn more about working with the ESIF.