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Assessments and Tools

NREL has developed several tools, models, and resources that enable energy project leaders around the world to evaluate opportunities for deploying renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies on a global, regional, local, or project basis. NREL has also developed a broader suite of energy analysis tools beyond those highlighted here, which are used most extensively in our international programs, including RE Explorer, described below.

Resource Assessments and Maps

NREL conducts resource assessments to inform renewable energy and alternative fuel policy and project development. To date, we have conducted biomass, solar, and wind resource assessments for more than 30 countries. We have also developed high-resolution resource maps and data products for several countries—including Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, and Philippines. We have also mapped alternative fueling stations and assessed ideal locations for electric vehicle charging equipment.

Biomass Resource Assessments

Biomass resource assessments quantify the existing or potential biomass material in a given area. NREL evaluates biomass resources statistically and spatially using GIS and other techniques. This analysis examines the amount of resources available or potentially available in a region, as well as their geographic distribution.

Solar and Wind Energy Maps

In cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), NREL has produced high-resolution maps and data sets of solar and wind energy resources for more than a dozen developing countries through the Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA) initiative. The resource data are integrated into a geographic information systems (GIS) framework that allows the resource data to be combined with key geographic and demographic data. We also contribute to the Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy, a collaborative, open-architecture project led by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group of the Clean Energy Ministerial.

Global Energy Assessments

NREL collaborates with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) on the Global Energy Assessment and with the International Energy Agency on renewable energy scenarios for the World Energy Outlook.

Alternative Fuel Station Mapping

NREL created the Electric Charging and Alternative Fuelling Stations Locator for Canada to help members of the public and fleet identify fueling infrastructure near garage locations or along their routes.

Tools and Knowledge Sharing Platforms

RE Explorer

RE Explorer provides renewable energy data, analytical tools, and technical assistance to developers, policymakers, and decision makers in developing countries. It enables them to make meaningful decisions that support low-emission development and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Battery Lifetime Analysis and Simulation Tool (BLAST)

BLAST is a tool that estimates how long electric vehicle batteries will last, what their payback is, and ways to lengthen their lifetimes. It accounts for various temperatures, charging station configuration, and driving patterns.

Future Automotive Systems Technology Simulator (FASTSim)

FASTSim helps fleet managers assess the performance and fuel savings of various vehicle technologies on their drive cycle. Main inputs include drive cycle (derived via dataloggers or via in the Drive Cycle Analysis Tool), vehicle type (inc. electric vehicles and hybrids), and vehicle size. Outputs include fuel use, cost savings, and emission reductions.

Global Solar Opportunity Tool

Developed by NREL for the Clean Energy Solutions Center and countries around the world, the Global Solar Opportunity Tool enables analysis and visualization of the technical and economic potential for solar electric technologies ranging from residential rooftop systems to utility-scale installations.

Greening the Grid

In partnership with the United States Agency for International Development, NREL developed and curates Greening the Grid, a web-based toolkit of informational, training, guidance materials to support energy system planners, regulators, and power system operators in overcoming challenges associated with integrating variable renewable energy into the power grid.

OpenEI: Open Energy Information

NREL created Open EI to collect and share energy data to inform policy development. In partnership with several international institutions, NREL manages Open EI information gateways for low emission development strategies, West African clean energy development, Latin American clean energy development, energy access and energy poverty, and solar and wind energy resource assessments.

Training Courses

NREL training courses seek to:

  • Build capacity around state-of-the-art energy saving technologies
  • Teach assessment techniques using standardized analysis and assessment tools
  • Increase knowledge of energy consumption in buildings and vehicle fleets.

Through completion of the program, participants will have the knowledge and resources needed to conduct comprehensive energy assessments. The courses are designed for energy managers, facility managers, resource efficiency managers, building engineers, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians, electricians and programmatic energy staff.

Contact us for upcoming courses or additional information.