Take a Trip to Renewable Energy Discovery Island

Educational Videos Reveal Water Power’s Potential on Virtual Island

June 12, 2023 | By Tiffany Plate | Contact media relations

Fly over Hydro Heights, where a pumped storage hydropower station stores energy until it is needed on the grid. Dive into Tidal Town, where energy from the ebb and flow of tides drives underwater turbines. Or follow the path of seawater as it gets pumped onshore to Desalination Station and is turned into drinking water using clean wave power.

These are just a few of the fascinating stops on Renewable Energy Discovery (REDi) Island, a new educational resource developed by the water power team at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and IKM 3D and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office. The videos are now available to the public and are intended for educators, students, parents, or anyone seeking to better understand water power.

An illustration of a hilly island featuring a city on the coast, with rivers flowing into it and dams pictured in the background.
On REDi Island, water power plays an integral role in powering communities, monitoring the environment, and providing clean drinking water. Illustration by IKM 3D

The island currently hosts six water-powered waystations, featuring animated videos that offer a closer look at how hydropower can create and store energy for when it is needed on the grid or how marine energy can power activities—such as ocean monitoring and desalination—that will become more crucial in a warming climate.

The educational reach of REDi Island will continue to expand as new waystations are added in the coming months—15 stops will be available in total—that cover even more of NREL’s cutting-edge water power research. And an interactive web-based app that allows students and teachers to dive deeper into REDi Island will be released later in 2023.

“REDi Island was designed to demonstrate, in a simple but meaningful way, how water power can play so many different roles in our clean energy future,” said Arielle Cardinal, a project manager for NREL’s water power program who leads the REDi Island initiative at NREL. “We hope that the videos make their way into high school and college classrooms, where they can inspire the next generation to consider a career in marine energy or hydropower. These growing industries are going to need their participation!”

Learn more about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers and workforce development opportunities on the Hydropower STEM Portal and Marine Energy STEM Portal. And stay up to date on other exciting research by subscribing to NREL's water power newsletter, The Current. 

Tags: Hydropower,Water,Energy Storage