About the Energy Systems Integration Facility

The Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) is the United States' premier lab focused on energy systems research, development, and demonstration. It is where new technologies are evaluated using state-of-the-art equipment and resources.

Photo of NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility.

The ESIF is a research space designed to find solutions to the challenges—and identify opportunities—within our rapidly evolving energy system.

Some dynamics driving research at the facility include:

  • Cost-competitive renewables are making up a larger share of the energy mix.
  • The grid edge is transforming into a dynamic space where energy isn't just passively consumed but generated, stored, managed, and traded.
  • Sectors that once operated in silos—such as electricity, transportation, buildings, and fuels—are overlapping and interconnecting with one another.

These exciting dynamics are creating urgent challenges. Managing, optimizing, securing, and increasing resilience to the future energy system requires new technologies and control techniques.

The ESIF makes it possible to consider the interdependencies of our energy system, answer "what if?" questions, and evaluate potential solutions in a near real-world environment.

ARIES Brings Real-World Scale

The ESIF is a key part of an unprecedented new research platform at NREL called Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems, or ARIES.

ARIES leverages existing capabilities at the ESIF, new capabilities at NREL’s Flatirons Campus, and a virtual emulation environment connecting hardware assets at these sites with millions of digitally emulated devices. A high-speed data link will interconnect ARIES with other national laboratories and research partners to enable access to a greater set of research capabilities. 

ARIES represents a substantial scale-up in experimentation capability from existing research platforms, allowing for research at the 20-MW level and beyond. It will make it possible to understand the impact and get the most value from the millions of new devices—such as electric vehicles, renewable generation, hydrogen, energy storage, and grid-interactive efficient buildings—that are being connected to the grid daily.

The scale of the platform will also make it possible to consider opportunities and risks with the growing interdependencies between the power system and other infrastructure such as natural gas, transportation, water, and telecommunications.

A Facility with Innovation Built In

The foundation of the ESIF is its infrastructure. In addition to extensive fixed laboratory equipment, the facility incorporates electrical, thermal, fuels, and data acquisition bus work throughout. Learn more about the ESIF's key infrastructure.

Want to see the ESIF in action?

Learn how to use our labs for your own research.