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Program News

Access news stories from NREL's research programs.

December 18, 2008

GRC 2009 Annual Meeting Announced, Call for Abstracts Issued

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) issued a call for abstracts today with the announcement of the world's largest geothermal event taking place October 4-7, 2009, in Reno, Nevada, at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino. Themed “Geothermal 2009: Making Renewable Energy Hot,” the GRC is the sponsor of the annual meeting.

December 9, 2008

Extra-High-Voltage Line from AEP Would Connect Wind-Rich Dakotas

American Electric Power is evaluating the feasibility of building a multi-state, extra-high-voltage transmission project across the Upper Midwest.

December 9, 2008

Colorado Study Confirms Low Grid Integration Costs for Wind

A new study released this week once again adds to the body of peer-reviewed literature confirming that the cost of integrating wind energy with the electric grid is quite low.

December 3, 2008

DOE to Award $14.55 Million for Advanced Vehicle Technologies

Ford Motor Company has received funds from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop an energy-efficient way to cool, heat, and ventilate cars. NREL will serve on Ford's project team.

December 2, 2008

Spanish Wind Power Hits Record 43% of Demand

Renewable energy has boomed in recent years in Spain, as the country tries to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce its heavy dependence on fuel imports. Spain is also saving large sums of money in the process.

November 25, 2008

NREL Tests New Structure for Jet Impingement Cooling of Power Electronics

NREL's Transportation Technologies and Systems researchers tested a novel prototype heat exchanger that uses jet impingement cooling and does not restrict heat flow in the power electronic components of advanced vehicles. Power electronics modules and electric motors are critical systems for advanced plug-in hybrid electric and electric vehicles. Power electronics can generate excessive heat, which degrades their performance, reliability, and life. NREL focuses on developing thermal management technologies that help to increase power density and lower system costs.

November 11, 2008

Puget Sound Energy Files to Pass on Wind Financial Benefits to Customers

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) wants to reduce its customers' bills thanks to the high performance of wind power on its system.

October 28, 2008

Wind, Other New Generation Creating Crucial Need for Transmission: NERC Report

“We need more transmission resources to maintain reliability and achieve environmental goals,” said Rick Sergel, president and CEO of NERC.

October 20, 2008

Updated Biodiesel Guide Helps Ensure Optimum Performance

Those who operate vehicles that run on biodiesel or who produce, blend, store, or distribute this renewable fuel will want a copy of the new, fourth edition of NREL's popular Biodiesel Handling and Use Guide. This edition contains new information on standards and best practices on storage stability, low-temperature blending and operability, and new biodiesel blend specifications to ensure optimum performance.

October 7, 2008

NREL, HelioVolt Receive Technology Transfer Award for PV Manufacturing Technology

The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer has presented NREL and HelioVolt with an "Excellence in Technology Transfer" Award.

October 7, 2008

CRADA Opportunity for Blade Testing Technologies Deadline Extended

NREL is seeking one more partners to develop testing technologies and equipment for wind turbine blades up to 100 m in length

September 19, 2008

DOE to Invest $35 Million in Concentrating Solar Power Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy selected 15 new projects to facilitate developing lower-cost energy storage for concentrating solar power technology.

September 9, 2008

ITC Selected for Two Sections of 765-kV Kansas Transmission Project

Transmission company to build two of the three sections that will comprise the 765-kV “Kansas V-Plan” transmission project .

September 9, 2008

FERC Approves MISO Queue Reforms

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conditionally approved queue reforms proposed by the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO).

September 5, 2008

NREL's Optical Furnace Technology Sparks Solar Industry Interest

Two startup companies are using NREL's optical furnace technology to advance solar cell manufacturing processes.

August 19, 2008

AEP, Duke Transmission Joint Venture in Indiana would Link 3,000 MW of Wind

Joint venture to build and operate 240 miles of extra-high-voltage, 765-kV Indiana transmission lines.

August 14, 2008

U.S. Leads World in Wind Power Production

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the United States now leads the world in the amount of electricity it generates from wind energy.

August 14, 2008

DOE to Invest in Grid Integration Systems for Solar Energy

DOE announced that it plans to invest up to $24 million to develop products that connect solar power systems with the electrical grid in an interactive way.

August 12, 2008

DOE to Invest up to $24 Million for Breakthrough Solar Energy Products

The U.S. Department of Energy will invest in collaborative projects with industry to accelerate the commercialization of solar photovoltaic systems.

July 23, 2008

Texas $4.9 Billion Transmission Plan to Tap Wind

The Public Utility Commission of Texas's (PUCT's) July 17 approved a $4.9 billion plan to build more than 2,300 miles of new 345-kV transmission lines that will link vast and largely untapped wind energy resources in northern and western Texas.

July 23, 2008

AWEA, Wind on the Wires Support Midwest ISO Queue Reforms

AWEA regional partner Wind on the Wires (WOW) and AWEA filed comments with the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) supporting the general direction of interconnection queue reforms proposed by the Midwest Independent System Operator (ISO).

July 14, 2008

NREL and Optony Collaborate on Developing Cost-Competitive Approach for Solar Electricity

NREL and its partner Optony are working together on a revolutionary concentrating solar power system.

July 9, 2008

ERCOT Completes Test Run of Nodal Real-Time Market

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) recently completed a live run of its pending nodal real-time market.

July 2, 2008

NREL Recognized for Work on Denver Federal Center's Solar Park

Otto VanGeet, of NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis and Applications Center, was recognized for his technical support to the General Services Administration (GSA) Rocky Mountain Region at the official dedication of the Denver Federal Center's (DFC) $6.9 million solar park on June 26.

June 24, 2008

Southwest Power Pool Approves Base Funding for Designated Wind Projects

The Southwest Power Pool's (SPP's) Regional State Committee voted unanimously to allow for a more equitable funding mechanism for transmission line upgrades and additions associated with certain wind projects.

June 24, 2008

FERC Approves NYISO Plan for Wind Forecasting, Under-Generation Exemptions

A move intended to encourage the development of wind and other renewables as well as integrate them more effectively into the resource mix.

June 18, 2008

Poll: Transmission Big Barrier To Wind Development

Transmission issues and federal policy are the greatest barriers to the development of wind energy in the U.S.

June 13, 2008

Wind-Tunnel Tests Assist in Structural Design of Parabolic Trough Solar Collectors

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently released the results of extensive wind-tunnel tests on parabolic trough solar collectors. These tests and their analysis determined practical wind loads applicable to the structural design for stress and deformation.

June 11, 2008

DOE to Identify Western Transmission Needs for Renewable Energy

DOE announced last week that it will work with the Western Governors' Association (WGA) to identify areas in the West with substantial renewable energy resources and to expedite the development and delivery of that energy to meet regional energy needs.

June 11, 2008

New Report Finds the United States Leading in Wind Power Growth

Domestic wind installations continue to grow at record rates for 2007.

May 29, 2008

BLM Initiates Environmental Analysis of Solar Energy Development

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has initiated a joint programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) with the Department of Energy to assess the environmental, social, and economic impacts associated with solar energy development on BLM-managed public land in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

May 28, 2008

DOE and Governors to Cooperate on Western Renewable Energy Projects

The Western Governors' Association and the U.S. Department of Energy announced an agreement aimed at accelerating the development and delivery of renewable energy in the West.

May 14, 2008

JEDI Model Now Includes Concentrating Solar Power

The Job and Economic Development Impact, or JEDI, models are easy-to-use models that analyze the economic impacts of constructing and operating power generation plants at the local and state level. First developed to model wind energy development impacts, JEDI has expanded. We now offer models to analyze the job and economic impacts of biofuels and concentrating solar power plants.

May 12, 2008

Wind Energy Could Produce 20 Percent of U.S. Electricity By 2030

The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) today released a first-of-its kind report that examines the technical feasibility of harnessing wind power to provide up to 20 percent of the nation's total electricity needs by 2030.

May 2, 2008

NREL Commercialization Project Accelerates PV Technology Innovation

NREL's R&D collaboration with Ampulse, a venture-backed company, is taking photovoltaic cell technology one step further with a new innovative approach using silicon film.

April 30, 2008

DOE to Invest up to $60 Million for Advanced CSP

DOE announced a funding opportunity for up to $60 million over 5 years to support the development of low-cost concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. The funding includes $10 million in FY 2008 appropriations and $10 million in the FY 2009 budget request. Specifically, the funding is available for projects from industry and academia that develop advanced thermal storage concepts and heat transfer fluids to further increase the efficiency of CSP power plants.

April 29, 2008

DOE Announces Nanomanufacturing Research Lab Call

The U.S. Department of Energy will fund R&D projects at its national laboratories to advance and commercialize nanomanufacturing techologies within three to five years.

April 29, 2008

NREL Mission and CSP Highlighted in Innovation Magazine

Laboratory Director Dan Arvizu and Concentrating Solar Power Program Manager Mark Mehos highlighted the mission of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in articles published in Innovation: America's Journal of Technology Commercialization.

April 23, 2008

FERC Approves Transmission Incentive Requests

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved transmission incentive requests for two projects slated to improve reliability of the nation's interstate transmission system.

April 21, 2008

NREL Collaborates to Commercialize Fiber Hydrogen Optic Sensor

NREL is working with Nuclear Filter Technology to develop a fiber hydrogen optic sensor with strong market potential.

April 11, 2008

DOE Announces Plans for Future Loan Guarantee Solicitations

Through its Loan Guarantee Program, the U.S. Department of Energy plans to issue solicitations for up to $38.5 billion for clean energy technology projects.

April 10, 2008

Senior Research Fellow Wins Major International Science Award

Senior Research Fellow Arthur J. Nozik has won the 2008 Eni Award, a prestigious international honor that has several Nobel Prize winners among its recipients.

March 24, 2008

Record Makes Thin-Film Solar Cell Competitive with Silicon Efficiency

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have moved closer to creating a thin-film solar cell that can compete with the efficiency of the more common silicon-based solar cell. The copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cell recently reached 19.9% efficiency, setting a new world record for this type of cell. Multicrystalline silicon-based solar cells have shown efficiencies as high as 20.3%.

March 19, 2008

NREL's Mark Mehos Discusses CSP Technology in National Public Radio Interview

Mark Mehos, manager of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) program, discussed the potential of CSP as one of the guests on National Public Radio's "Science Friday" on March 14. Other guests interviewed by Ira Flatow, the show's host, included Frederick Morse, senior advisor for the United States for Abengoa Solar, and David Mills, chairman, founder, and chief research officer of Ausra Incorporated. The interview can be heard in its entirety on NPR's Web site at

March 18, 2008

Why the Texas Reliability Event on February 26, 2008 Raises No Concerns About Much Higher Wind Penetration

On February 26, 2008, a drop in frequency on Texas' transmission grid caused the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to put in place an Emergency Electric Curtailment Plan. The event was reported in some media outlets as having been caused by a sudden drop in output from wind projects. The American Wind Energy Association has pulled together important background information and highlights from the report issued by ERCOT on the event. This provides both perspective on the event and insights into the issues going forward.

February 27, 2008

Venture Capitalist Firm Selected for NREL's Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers will sponsor an entrepreneur at NREL to help accelerate the commercialization of NREL-developed technologies.

February 25, 2008

Department of Energy Selects Winner of Wind Cooperative of the Year Award

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced—in partnership with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)—its selection of the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) of Anchorage, Alaska, as the winner of the 2007 Wind Cooperative of the Year Award.

February 25, 2008

Abengoa Solar and Arizona Public Service Planning 280 MW Facility in Arizona

Abengoa Solar signed a contract with Arizona Public Service Co. to build, own, and operate the Solana Generating Station--a 280-MW concentrating solar power plant near Gila Bend, Arizona, to be operational by 2011.

February 8, 2008

NREL, 3TIER Join To Conduct Wind Integration Study

3TIER, an independent provider of wind, solar and hydro energy assessment and power forecasting, was chosen by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to conduct the largest-scale wind integration study ever undertaken, according to the company.

February 6, 2008

Montana Alberta Tie Receives Final Canadian Approval

Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. (MATL) has received final Canadian approval to build and operate a 346 kilometer, 230 kV alternating current power line from Lethbridge, Alberta, to Great Falls, Montana.

January 16, 2008

Report: Electric Utilities Investing Billions in Transmission

The U.S. electric utility industry invested $6.9 billion in transmission projects in 2006, and members of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) plan to invest another $38.1 billion from 2007 to 2010, according to a new EEI report.

January 8, 2008

NREL Solicits Commercial Partner to Assist in Developing Advanced Selective Absorber Coatings for Use in Concentrating Solar Power Systems

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is looking for a commercial partner to assist in developing its heat-collection element for parabolic trough systems, with the goal of establishing a commercial product. Interested parties should contact NREL by January 31, 2008.


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