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ARIES: A Research Platform To Match the Complexity of the Modern Energy System (Text Version)

This video gives an overview of ARIES, a research platform at NREL for integrated research to support the development of groundbreaking new energy technologies.

Narrator begins speaking while the screen shows sped-up footage of urban areas. The images transition through animations illustrating digital connectivity. Multiple scenes enter the clip in synchrony with narrator's words: "secure, resilient, reliable, affordable, and clean." Scene switches to NREL researchers viewing an emulation research software on screen. 

>>Narrator: The energy system that underlies our economy, our security, and our daily lives is changing like never before. To build a future energy system that is secure, resilient, reliable, affordable, and clean, we need a research environment that recreates real-world dynamics and provides space for exploration.

Video spans up a transmission line at twilight before switching to one-half of the screen showing the Energy Systems Integration Facility at NREL, the other half showing NREL's Flatirons Campus. Text appears explaining ARIES acronym in synchrony with narrator. Screen switches to illustrated research platforms of ARIES. The scene begins to transition between unspecific examples of NREL research.

>>Narrator: NREL and DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy are meeting this challenge by investing in a new national capability called Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems, or ARIES. ARIES is a research platform that can match the complexity of the modern energy system and conduct integrated research to support the development of groundbreaking new energy technologies. ARIES will make it possible to understand the impact and get the most value from the millions of new devices—like electric vehicles, renewable generation, energy storage, and grid-responsive building technologies that are being connected to the grid on a daily basis. It will also make it possible to consider opportunities and risks where larger systems rely upon each other at the growing spaces of interdependence between the power system and other infrastructures like natural gas, fuels, transportation, water, and telecommunications.

Scene shows a sequence of animations illustrating digital connectivity, then a microchip, and transitions to researchers working between banks of electrical infrastructure. Same researchers then observe a circuit box. Scene switches to outside clip of the ESIF, then outside clip of Flatirons. Various assets at Flatirons are shown: wind turbines, battery storage systems, solar panels, and utility electrical infrastructure. Scene transitions to a zoom-out animation, beginning at the city and, zooming out to an illuminated-at-night United States, which is connected with links coming out perpendicular from globe.

>>Narrator: The core ARIES platform consists of three elements at different scales: At the community-scale are research assets and real hardware at NREL's award-winning Energy Systems Integration Facility, or ESIF. The ESIF is then connected via a high-speed data link to city- and campus-scale research assets at NREL's Flatirons Campus. These interconnected pieces alone allow for experimentation at up to 20 MW, and represent an unrivaled research network at the leading-edge of what is possible worldwide. But a key innovation with ARIES, and what sets it apart from anything that exists currently, is its scale, which is amplified by a virtual emulation environment.

Scene shows digital connectivity animation, then switches to scanning shot of Eagle supercomputer and a clip of servers. Clips switch to a solar energy farm, a wind farm side-by-side with a solar farm, a fuel cell vehicle with an open hood, a fueling nozzle.

>>Narrator: Powered by NREL's revolutionary 8-petaflop high-performance computer, this virtual research space introduces metropolitan area- and regional-scale dynamics, Expanding our ability to understand the interaction of hundreds to millions of devices with complex energy infrastructures.

Scene shows researcher presenting and then a close-up of animation that is being presented. Clip switches to electrolyzer, then a zero-emissions bus in traffic, then a hydro water dam, then a geothermal field emitting steam. Clip shows researchers walking within wind turbine test facility, then two researchers working in front of a computer, and then test vehicles parking beneath a solar panel at NREL. Video ends with clip of researcher guiding interactive visualization, and then a group of researchers working within a laboratory. Text appears: "Learn More, nrel.gov/aries"

>>Narrator: And surfacing for the first time, new opportunities at the edge of unexplored frontiers in integrated energy systems at scale. With ARIES we can discover the strengths of each energy sector, their interdependencies, and their potential. It will be an unprecedented national resource to amplify the creativity and drive of industry, by connecting it to the innovation powerhouses of the national labs. The biggest challenges lie ahead—and we invite collaborators to take them head-on with the next generation in research infrastructure at NREL.