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Program News

Access news stories from NREL's research programs.

December 31, 2009

Development of Eastern Regional Wind Resource and Wind Plant Output Datasets

A primary task of the Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study is to develop a dataset of three years of modeled time-series wind speed and power output that can be used to evaluate the power system impacts and transmission associated with increasing wind penetration to 20% and 30% on most of the eastern interconnect. AWS-Truewind has completed this final report describing the overall project detailing the modeling and inputs.

December 28, 2009

NREL Experiments Advance Hydrogen-Production Technology

Recent experiments mark a significant step forward for the photoelectrochemical hydrogen-production process.

December 16, 2009

NREL Spearheads Development of Fuel Cell Power Model

The Fuel Cell Power Model is a financial tool for analyzing high-temperature, fuel cell-based tri-generation systems.

December 11, 2009

Workshop Highlights Near-Term Applications for Renewable Hydrogen Technologies

Co-hosted by NREL, the workshop highlighted market-ready hydrogen technologies and a California bill that requires 33% of the hydrogen produced or dispensed in the state to be made from renewable resources.

December 8, 2009

Panel Discussion Focuses on Renewable Biogas for Fuel Cells

A recent panel discussion at the 2009 Fuel Cell Seminar highlighted the opportunities and challenges related to large-scale use of biogas as a renewable source of methane for fuel cells.

December 1, 2009

NREL Hosts IEA Meetings on Hybrid Electric Vehicles

NREL hosted meetings of the Executive Committee and three of the working groups of the International Energy Agency's (IEA's) Hybrid Electric Vehicle Implementing Agreement (HEV-IA) on October 26-30, 2009, to address the worldwide deployment of vehicles powered by clean energy.

November 23, 2009

NREL Opens Hydrogen Fueling Station

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently opened a hydrogen fueling station at its National Wind Technology Center. The hydrogen dispensed at the station is produced via renewable electrolysis. The new station enhances NREL's capabilities for testing and validating fuel cell vehicles in Colorado's unique environment.

November 9, 2009

New Recovery Through Retrofit Plan Expands Residential Funding Opportunities

The new Recovery Through Retrofit Plan will broaden opportunities for residential building projects.

October 30, 2009

DOE-NREL Launch Mid-size Turbine Development Project

Since the early 90s, the wind energy industry has experienced substantial growth in both the utility and residential markets.

October 23, 2009

DOE Seeks Partners to Expand Wind for Schools Activities

Opportunity provides universities, state institutions, and nongovernmental organizations funding and technical support to develop educational programs to improve the understanding of wind energy technology.

October 15, 2009

New Siemens Research Turbine to be Commissioned at NREL

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Siemens Energy Inc. will formally commission a new 2.3 megawatt Siemens wind turbine at the National Wind Technology Center on Monday, Oct 19. The turbine is the centerpiece of what will be the biggest government-industry research partnership for wind power generation ever undertaken.

October 13, 2009

Moving Beyond Paralysis: How States and Regions Are Creating Innovative Transmission Projects

This report profiles certain state and regional transmission policy initiatives aimed at promoting transmission development, mainly to access renewable resources.

October 13, 2009

How do Wind and Solar Power Affect Grid Operations: The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study

This paper reviews the scope of the study, the development of wind and solar datasets, and the results to date on three scenarios.

October 13, 2009

Large-Scale Wind Integration Studies in the United States: Preliminary Results

This paper discusses key results that have emerged so far from each study, focusing primarily on simulation results based on hourly production simulations. Results from both studies show that high wind penetrations can be successfully integrated into the power system, but depend on sufficient transmission and significant changes in operations.

October 13, 2009

Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study — Preliminary Findings

This paper reviews the scope of the study, the development of wind datasets, the transmission expansion analysis, and the results to date of the wind integration analysis for the four scenarios.

October 8, 2009

NREL Concentrating Solar Power Team Receives Two Awards Under DOE's National Laboratory Call for Research and Development Projects

On October 8, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will receive funding for two proposals submitted to the DOE Solar EnergyTechnologies Program in June 2009: (1) Advanced Thermal Energy Storage and Solar-Field Test and Evaluation Facilities ($4.4 million) and (2)Nanomaterials for Thermal Energy Storage in Concentrating Solar Power Plants ($1 million). These awards complement ongoing NREL research and development in support of CSP. Over the coming months, NREL will reach out to CSP stakeholders to refine the plans for the facilities to meet the near- and long-term needs of the CSP industry.

October 1, 2009

NREL Tests Advanced Air Conditioner Designed for Western Climates

NREL recently tested the performance of the Coolerado Corporation's hybrid air-conditioning unit, demonstrating its energy efficiency.

September 30, 2009

Recovery Act Helps to Fund Transmission Line for Montana Wind Power

DOE announced on September 16 that a major transmission line to carry power from proposed wind power facilities near Cut Bank, Montana, will draw on funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

September 28, 2009

Weathering System Cuts Product Testing Time

NREL's new Ultra-Accelerated Weathering System can quickly give an accurate portrait of what the sun will do to a product in 10, 20 or 30 years. This helps companies determine a service-life guarantee for a product.

September 14, 2009

AwardWinning Battery's Secret Is 'Buried'

Actually, the secret's out. In two years, Planar Energy Devices plans to commercialize an innovative, solid-state lithium-ion microbattery developed by NREL researchers.

September 14, 2009

IEA Wind Energy 2008 Annual Report Now Available for Free Download

The IEA Annual Report for 2008 provides the latest information on wind industries in 20 International Energy Agency (IEA) Wind member countries.

September 9, 2009

Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Launches Renewable Energy Gateway

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (Midwest ISO) has launched the Renewable Energy Gateway, an information hub focusing on renewable energy sources in the Midwest ISO region.

September 2, 2009

UWIG Updates Document Summarizing Status Of Wind Power And Electricity Markets

The Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG) has released an updated version of a summary table detailing markets and market rules for wind energy and capacity in North America.

August 26, 2009

NWTC Installs Multimegawatt Research Turbines

NREL's National Wind Technology Center installed the first of two multimegawatt wind turbines last week to be used for research to advance wind turbine performance and reliability.

August 25, 2009

Wind Technology Center Installing a Dynamic Duo

NREL will be testing a 2.3-megawatt Siemens Power Generation turbine and a 1.5-megawatt General Electric turbine. The GE turbine will be available to industry and other organizations as a test bed.

August 24, 2009

Midwestern Utilities Partner on EHV Transmission Study for Renewables

A group of Midwest utilities including American Transmission Co. (ATC), American Electric Power, and MidAmerican Energy are partnering on a comprehensive study to identify the transmission infrastructure needed to tap the region's rich wind resources and transport the power to consumers in markets to the east.

August 12, 2009

Northwestern Transmission Line to Carry 575 Megawatts of Wind Power

DOE announced on Monday that construction is underway for the McNary-John Day transmission project in Oregon and Washington, funded by $343 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

August 10, 2009

For States to Reach Full Wind Potential, National Effort Needed

South Dakota ranks among the top five states when it comes to wind energy potential. The state could produce more than one-trillion kilowatt hours of electricity each year. That's enough to power almost a quarter of the entire country. But when it comes to wind installation, South Dakota barely makes the top 20. Steve Wegman, Executive Director of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association, says there are a couple of reasons for that. "Some of the problems that we have are lack of transmission capabilities."

August 7, 2009

NREL Summer Labs Season Science Students

Rather than seeing summer as a welcome break from scholarship, some dedicated students embrace the season as a time of new discoveries and learning. Eighty students from across the country recently spent 10 weeks at NREL tackling real-world problems in an internship program that benefits the lab, the nation and the students.

August 4, 2009

Award-Winning Reflector to Cut Solar Cost

NREL's partnership with SkyFuel yields a more cost-effective parabolic trough technology.

July 16, 2009

2008 Wind Technologies Market Report

The report analyzes a range of developments in the wind market, including trends in wind project installations, turbine size, turbine prices, wind project costs, project performance, and wind power prices. The report also details trends in project financing, a key concern for the wind industry in the current economic climate, as well as trends in project ownership, public policy, and the integration of wind power into the electrical grid.

July 13, 2009

Unique Research Tool Aims to Reduce PV Cost

NREL has installed its first Atmospheric Processing Platform to prototype lower-cost thin film solar cells from inks and other solutions.

July 13, 2009

Testing the Potential of Mid-level Ethanol Blends

Can E15 and E20—gasoline blended with 15% and 20% ethanol—help us meet national goals for renewable fuels, which include producing 36 billion gallons of ethanol per year by 2022? That's what government and industry researchers want to know in a study of mid-level ethanol-gasoline blends sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Researchers from two DOE national labs, NREL and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are collaborating with industry to evaluate the potential of using these mid-level blends in engines that now run on gasoline or E10. The story's just beginning to unfold in the first report from this study.

July 9, 2009

DOE/BLM Announce Availability of Solar Energy Study Area Maps

The Department of Energy and the Bureau of Land Management announced the availability of maps that identify 24 tracts of BLM-administered land for in-depth study for solar development. A public comment period ends July 30, 2009.

July 7, 2009

NREL Collaborating with Spire to Develop Solar Cells with 42% Efficiency

Through a Photovoltaic Technology Incubator Award, Spire Semiconductor will receive more than $3.7 million under an 18-month contract with NREL.

June 29, 2009

Energy Storage R&D Showcased at Advanced Battery Conference

Results of cutting-edge battery research projects conducted by NREL's Energy Storage Team were presented at the first-of-its-kind Advanced Automotive Battery & EC Capacitor Conference held in June in Long Beach, California. The conference highlighted some of the latest advances in vehicle battery and ultracapacitor R&D and indicated where the technology is heading. NREL's research, sponsored by DOE and industry, looks at the critical issues surrounding the development of batteries for the hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles of the future, including battery lifetime, performance, safety, and cost, and explores ways to develop the safest, most efficient and most reliable batteries possible.

May 22, 2009

Solar, Hydrogen Model Cars Race Toward New Energy Future

Bright skies and creative designs combined for blistering speeds at the 2009 Junior Solar Sprint and Hydrogen Fuel Cell car competitions. The NREL-hosted event attracted 78 teams from 29 Colorado middle schools. For the 19th year, student teams raced solar or hydrogen powered vehicles that they designed and built themselves.

May 1, 2009

Working to Overcome Barriers to Meeting 20% U.S. Wind Vision

According to Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson — the challenges to — and the drivers of — a robust wind future for the country may actually be different on a state-by-state basis. But there is one thing that's common across the nation — transmission.

April 27, 2009

NREL and Ford Team Up to Develop 'Cool' Cars.

NREL is partnering with Ford to develop highly efficient climate control systems for automobiles.

April 24, 2009

NREL and Ford Team Up to Develop "Cool" Cars

The research and development agreement focuses on studying thermal comfort in vehicles.

April 13, 2009

World's Second-Largest Solar Thermal Power Plant to Be Built in Florida

By mid 2010, Florida Power and Light (FPL) will construct the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, a 75-megawatt plant that will sit on 500 acres near Indiantown, Florida, adjacent to FPL's existing combined-cycle power plant. It will be the world's second largest concentrating solar power plant.

April 13, 2009

NREL's JEDI Model Demonstrates Benefits for Nevada's Energy Development

Vote Solar released "The Sun Rises on Nevada," its in-depth analysis of employment, economic, tax, and environmental benefits, which demonstrated the potential gains for Nevada to develop solar energy. Vote Solar used the Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for concentrating solar power plants.

March 31, 2009

NREL Partnering with GreenVolts to Commercialize IMM Solar Cell

Through a cooperative research and development agreement, NREL will provide assistance with the optimization of the solar cell's design and transfer of the technology into the marketplace.

March 26, 2009

Laboratory Closed on March 26

The Lab has been closed for the day because of severe weather conditions.

March 12, 2009

NREL Successfully Transfers VSHOT Technology to Solar Industry

NREL provides the most efficient optical characterization testing method--the Video Scanning Hartmann Optical Test--for solar concentrators.

March 10, 2009

Once Again, Study Confirms Integrating Large Amounts of Wind Works

A new study by a Dutch researcher concludes that Dutch power stations can integrate large amounts of wind power with little more than up-to-date, improved wind forecasts.

March 9, 2009

NREL Partnerships Boost Research, Improve Technology

A recent technology partnership agreement with DuPont sought solutions to make ethanol from corn stalks.

March 2, 2009

FERC Webcast Archive on Integrating Renewable Resources into the Wholesale Electric Grid

Listen to the Webcast that took place March 2, 2009.

February 28, 2009

Green Power Superhighways: Building a Path to America's Clean Energy Future

This paper highlights the barriers that hinder investment in transmission infrastructure and identifies potential policy solutions to overcome those barriers.

February 20, 2009

Controlling Heat is Key to Hybrid Performance

NREL engineers are exploring several ways to improve hybrid performance to such a convincing level that millions of commuters will make the switch. To the lab, that means increasing the vehicles' range to 100 mpg or more, improving reliability and reducing costs — all while operating with drastically reduced tailpipe emissions.

February 17, 2009

Chuck Kutscher Receives Excellence Award in Renewable Energy from Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter recently honored NREL's Chuck Kutscher with the Governor's Excellence in Renewable Energy Award. Kutscher has dedicated 30 years to NREL, is a tireless advocate of renewable energy as a climate change solution, and is a writer, a teacher and a leader in the solar industry.

February 11, 2009

Study: Billions of Dollars Needed to Deliver Wind Power to Eastern Interconnection

Over $80 billion in new transmission infrastructure to obtain 20% of the region's electricity from wind generation.

February 5, 2009

Bigger & Better: Lab Aims to Improve Giant Wind Turbines

NREL's National Wind Technology Center is preparing to install the two largest turbines ever tested at the laboratory.

February 3, 2009

U.S. Wind Industry Takes Global Lead

The U.S. wind energy industry broke another global record in 2008 by installing 8,358 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, bringing our nation's total wind energy capacity to 25,170 MW. The United States now claims the largest wind energy capacity in the world, taking the lead from Germany.

January 5, 2009

Geothermal Developers Remain Optimistic

While the global financial crisis continues to rattle financial markets and companies worldwide, and shrinks capital available for renewable energy projects of all types, the outlook for geothermal development remains positive.

January 5, 2009

NREL Helps Set Stringent Biodiesel Standard

Research conducted at NREL provided the technical basis for setting the new standard, which was recently published by ASTM International.

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