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Energy Systems Integration News

March 2015

Photo of two men working with inverter testing equipment in a laboratory.

NREL's Andy Hoke and Austin Nelson tune experiment parameters during a ground fault overvoltage test at the Energy Systems Integration Facility as part of NREL's work with SolarCity and the Hawaiian Electric Companies. Photo by Amy Glickson, NREL

Welcome to Energy Systems Integration News, NREL's monthly newsletter designed to keep industry partners, stakeholders, associations, and educational institutes up to date on the latest energy systems integration (ESI) developments at NREL and worldwide.

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In This Issue


NREL ESI in the News

Check out the latest stories in the media featuring NREL ESI leadership and results of the lab's recent R&D efforts with industry partners.

NREL Fills Key Leadership Role in Energy Systems Security and Resilience

This month, Dr. Erfan Ibrahim joined NREL as the Director of Cyber Physical Systems Security and Resilience for NREL's ESI directorate.

Ibrahim has served multiple roles in the public and private sectors. In this new cross-cutting role at NREL, Ibrahim will work with a variety of stakeholders and subject-matter experts to develop cyber-physical systems security testing methodologies and resilience best practices that will enable the safe and reliable integration of emerging clean energy technologies onto the nation's electric grid, pipeline systems, and other important energy infrastructures. Much of this work will be conducted using the unique "grid in a box" capabilities of the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF).

Upcoming Speaking Engagements for NREL ESI Leadership

Mark your calendars to see NREL's Dr. Bryan Hannegan and Dr. Martha Symko-Davies at two upcoming conferences.

  • Grid Transformation Summit 2015, April 2729, 2015, in New York, New York: NREL Associate Lab Director for Energy Systems Integration Dr. Bryan Hannegan will give a keynote address.
  • Grid Edge Live 2015, June 2325, 2015, in San Diego, California: NREL Director of Partnerships for Energy Systems Integration Dr. Martha Symko-Davies will speak on "Microgrids and Other Innovative Energy System Developments."

NREL Contributes to March Variable Integration Task Force Meeting

This month, NREL's Michael Milligan provided final comments and revisions for the Integrating Variable Generation Task Force (IVGTF) Summary and Recommendations report to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). NERC oversees all the interconnected power systems of the continental United States, Canada, and part of Mexico; following NERC standards is required within the United States.

As wind and other weather-dependent energy technologies become more prevalent, it is more important than ever to address the grid challenges that arise from using variable generation energy technologies. The IVGTF's objective was to evaluate the effects of large-scale integration of variable generation and identify the long-term reliability considerations needed to ensure the reliability of the bulk power system.

The findings and recommendations from the IVGTF provide a reference of best practices and considerations for planners, operators, and regulators, with recommendations identifying areas that require further development. Areas of improvement are suggested for technical considerations, additions to regional requirements or guidelines, and Standards Authorization Requests for new and/or enhanced Reliability Standards. The report also contains an IVGTF Transition Plan with revisions to standards, technical guidelines, and research development or operating and planning practices recommendations.

Learn more about NREL's transmission grid integration research.

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ESI in the U.S. and Around the World

Energy Department Seeks Feedback on Grid Simulators for Wind Energy

The Energy Department's Wind Program is seeking feedback from the wind industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders regarding the program's activities and priorities in controllable grid simulators. The Wind Program works with electric grid operators, utilities, regulators, and industry to create new strategies for incorporating increasing amounts of wind energy into the power system, while maintaining economic and reliable operation of the grid. Feedback will inform the program's future strategies and priorities for advancing wind technologies and accelerating wind energy deployments.

NREL is home to a controllable grid interface (CGI) housed at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) that allows for the testing of various real-world aspects of integrating wind energy onto the power grid. The CGI power-electronic grid simulator enables low- to medium-voltage, single- and three-phase electrical testing, and can be driven and controlled by a real-time digital simulator to provide various hardware-in-the-loop testing capabilities. Information gathered through this Request for Information (RFI) can be applied to the wind technology market, associated grid integration impact studies, and may be used to inform future Wind Program strategies.

The RFI is not intended to inform a funding opportunity announcement, but will help the Wind Program meet its goal of ensuring the stable, secure integration of wind power into our nation's electrical grid. Responses are due by April 23, 2015. Read the full RFI on the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange.

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Who's Who at the ESIF

Learn About Our Featured Partners

Download fact sheets highlighting NREL's projects with some of our key industry partners.

  • Learn about NREL's work with Advanced Energy to test advanced solar inverters using the Energy Systems Integration Facility's (ESIF's) power hardware-in-the-loop capability.
  • Read about NREL's partnership with Asetek to measure the energy savings, performance, and reliability of a warm-water direct-to-chip liquid-cooling retrofit solution for data centers.
  • Find out how Google will leverage NREL's ESI capabilities to test the inverters developed under its Little Box Challenge competition.
  • See how NREL has partnered with SolarCity and the Hawaiian Electric Companies to analyze high-penetration solar scenarios using advanced modeling and inverter testing at the ESIF.
  • Learn about NREL's work with Solectria to develop solar inverters with advanced features that can support the electric grid.
  • Read about NREL's project with Wyle to complete development and testing of the Consolidated Utility Base Energy (CUBE) Systema power distribution device that delivers power from solar, battery, and diesel generators to loads on U.S. Army forward operating bases.

NREL is working with several other partners in the ESIFand the list continues to grow, with new partnership agreements recently signed with Houze, Ingersoll Rand, and San Diego Gas & Electric, among others. Get the full list of NREL's current partners in ESI R&D.

See Who Visited the ESIF in February

Several organizations visited NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) last month. Visitors included:

  • Colorado Center for Renewable Energy Economic Development
  • Dubai Electricity and Water Authority
  • Hawaiian Electric Companies
  • Keystone Energy Board
  • National Science Foundation
  • NextEra Energy
  • SolarCity
  • Trenergi.

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