Energy Systems Integration Newsletter January 2019

Download the ESIF 2018 Annual Report, Battery Energy Storage System Unveiled at Fort Carson, Baggu Shares Perspective on the Future of NREL's Grid Modernization Research

Report cover with illustration of electric grid.

Our Year in Review: Download the ESIF 2018 Annual Report

In 2018, research at the ESIF adapted and aligned to address the challenges that are shaping the electric grid today and into the future. From new types of partnerships, to developments in autonomous energy systems research, to an increased focus on energy security and resilience, it is hard to know everything going on at the ESIF. A great place to start is with the recently published ESIF 2018 Annual Report.

Research at the ESIF in 2018 centered on the multitude of advanced devices that are coming online and transforming our grid to one that is modern, more connected, and more complex. High-impact projects focused on new control paradigms, optimizing voltage control with advanced meter data, and integrating vehicle fleets with new grid technologies. We also launched a new, long-term partnership with Eaton Corp., setting the stage for future collaborations where we can more directly and collectively pursue mutual goals with our partners at the ESIF.

During the past year, researchers at the ESIF expanded knowledge in power system controls; prediction technologies; and advanced planning tools, devices, and security for distributed energy resources.

Download the ESIF 2018 Annual Report to learn more.

NREL Partners with Texas A&M University on Collaborative Research and Training Pipeline

NREL signed a multiyear agreement with Texas A&M University that opens the door to research collaboration and career development opportunities for students.

The agreement is intended to increase coordination of research activities between NREL and Texas A&M in several areas, including cybersecurity, energy systems integration, and power systems engineering. Students will also benefit from new opportunities for internships, technical seminars, trainings, postdoc positions, and career development.

"Texas A&M University will be a great strategic partner for collaborative research and to help us develop our pipeline of future technology leaders," said Juan Torres, NREL's associate laboratory director for Energy Systems Integration. "Not only does Texas A&M have outstanding engineering and science programs, their student body also has a strong interest in serving the national interest. We're looking forward to jointly addressing some of the nation's biggest energy challenges."

NREL To Collaborate with National Labs and Siemens To Explore Grid Modernization

NREL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are teaming with global energy and technology leader Siemens Corp. on a new collaboration aimed at grid modernization. Each of the national labs will conduct experiments and develop facilities to test and validate novel software and hardware technologies in their respective areas of research. This alliance will allow the laboratories to work together with Siemens to enhance the development of a reliable modernized grid. The agreement was announced at the Innovation XLab Grid Modernization Summit in Seattle on Jan. 24, 2019.

Eagle Takes Flight

At a ceremony on Jan. 8 at the ESIF, Eagle—NREL's new high-performance computer—made its debut. It was welcomed by representatives from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, NREL, and DOE.

Eagle is the result of a long partnership between NREL and Hewlett Packard Enterprise that has pushed the boundaries of what's possible in high-performance computing. Not only does Eagle drastically increase NREL's computing capabilities for renewable energy and energy-efficiency research, but the system is energy-efficient, too.

Read more about the event; view an infographic about how Eagle stacks up to its predecessor, Peregrine; and watch how Eagle helps answer big questions about transforming our energy system.

Q&A with Murali Baggu: Shaping the Future of Grid Modernization

Murali Baggu is the laboratory program manager for grid integration at NREL. Through his work with DOE's Office of Electricity and Grid Modernization Initiative program, Baggu has been shaping the direction of power systems research at NREL. Read more about Baggu's work in the grid space and the difference he is making in grid resilience.

Advancing Hydrogen Energy Research with Unique Lab Infrastructure at the ESIF

NREL scientists are studying the full range of hydrogen energy technologies—from the molecular level to hydrogen's end use in fuel cell electric vehicles, industrial processes, and energy systems. With multiple laboratories that can generate, store, and compress hydrogen and validate hydrogen and fuel cell components, the ESIF offers an infrastructure that cannot be found anywhere else to advance our current understanding and use of hydrogen energy technologies and systems.

Learn more by viewing a brief capability video on hydrogen technology research at the ESIF.

ICYMI: Top ESI Newsletter Stories of 2018

Now that 2018 has come to a close, take a look back at some of the most popular newsletter articles from last year:

  1. "NREL Leadership in Grid-Mod Projects Highlights National Progress"
  2. "NREL's PRECISE Helps Interconnect SMUD Customers' Solar PV for Better Performance, in Half the Time"
  3. "Developments at NREL Shave Response Time for Large-Scale Batteries Down to Milliseconds"
  4. "Energy Systems Integration: A Trend or Revolution?"
  5. "NREL, SDG&E Collaboration Scales Up Microgrid Study in Borrego Springs"

Unveiling the Battery Energy Storage System at Fort Carson

After years of planning, a new battery energy storage system (BESS) was unveiled on Jan. 9 in a ceremony at Fort Carson. The BESS is not the first energy-efficient installation at Fort Carson; the base has been on the forefront of renewable electricity initiatives for the Pentagon for years and is already home to the U.S. Army's biggest collection of solar power arrays.

The BESS was designed to save Fort Carson more than $500,000 per year in electricity costs during a 20-year span. The battery unit combats the high cost of electricity by charging at times when energy is less expensive, storing that energy, and then using the stored energy to shave energy use during peak demand times. NREL played a key part in developing the BESS, having prepared a review of the potential demand charge savings and the preliminary design for the storage system using REopt™ (Renewable Energy Integration and Optimization). Read more about the ceremony.

Innovation XLab Summit Boosts Collaboration around the Grid Edge

On Jan. 24 and 25, 2019, DOE hosted an Innovation XLab Summit in Seattle. At the conference, participants from industry, universities, and other national laboratories came together to discuss the grid edge and identify new opportunities for collaboration and technology innovation. Speakers held discussions on a variety of topics, including building resilience into the modern power grid, grid cybersecurity, and next-generation transmission and distribution solutions. Check out this video from DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy featuring NREL's Ben Kroposki talking about how NREL's unique capabilities and facilities, as well as our technical expertise, enable us to validate technologies in a research setting to ensure that they will work with the grid in the real world.

New ESI Publications

A new NREL analysis evaluates how pre-application reports that are being used to increase data exchange and transparency in the distributed generation interconnection process might encourage interconnection in locations that minimize grid impacts while increasing the efficiency of the interconnection process. The report, titled Evaluating the Role of Pre-Application Reports in Improving Distributed Generation Interconnection Processes, studied data from four Massachusetts utilities during a 9-year span too see how the pre-application reports affected application approval rates. NREL researchers found that the approval rate increased by 24% upon requiring pre-application reports for projects 500 kW and larger, suggesting that the reports might decrease the percentage of canceled projects.

In an NREL study titled "Modeling and Simulation of High-Frequency Solar Irradiance," NREL researchers bring greater resolution to solar irradiance data. As the use of solar energy grows, so has interest in subhourly measurements of solar irradiance. The National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB) uses data from various locations to provide 30-minute time resolutions to solar irradiance based on global data. This scientific article presents an algorithm, trained on historical data, that produces global horizontal irradiance samples in 1-minute intervals at locations where NSRDB data are available.