NREL's Vision for the Future: Integrated Energy Pathways (Text Version)

This is the text version of a video about one of NREL's critical research objectives: integrated energy pathways.

Video opens on a map of the United States filled with factories, power lines, electric vehicles, solar arrays, and wind turbines.

Our power system has not changed much in its hundred-year history—until now. The energy sector is experiencing a wave of new technologies, led by low-cost variable renewable energy, energy storage, electric vehicles, smart buildings, and digital connectivity.

Two men and a woman stand in front of an audience with a whiteboard in the background.

With these trends, communities have a new challenge ahead to design integrated energy systems that meet the rapidly changing needs of today and position us for the exciting opportunities of tomorrow.

Two scientists stand in front of a map of the United States filled with factories, power lines, electric vehicles, solar arrays, and wind turbines.

To ensure smooth and sustainable energy transitions for communities everywhere, NREL’s critical research area of Integrated Energy Pathways is focused on accelerating and scaling solutions that support clean, secure, and reliable power.

The scene fades to several buildings in a city equipped with solar panels. Wind turbines turn in the hilly background of the city.

Growth in both renewable energy and distributed energy resources has already turned traditional grid operations on its head; but in the transition to a clean energy system, we’ve only just left the shore.

Newspapers with renewable energy headlines fall into a stack. The scene then crossfades to a pair of researchers working in front of computers.

On the horizon, new connections between an even greater number of devices, distributed generation, and variable loads will require a different approach—one that applies advanced concepts such as new grid operation approaches, cybersecurity solutions, and scalable grid controls.

Researchers and partners stand in front of the previously shown map of the United States filled with factories, power lines, electric vehicles, solar arrays, and wind turbines.

The degree of change is so great that piecemeal progress is not enough. With our partners, NREL is demonstrating full-system solutions that capture the unique value of clean energy technologies.

The scene crossfades to a busy highway flanked with wind turbines and buildings equipped with solar panels. The scene crossfades again to a village with buildings equipped with solar panels. The scene crossfades again to see partners and researchers working together in a room.

Partners come to NREL to evaluate and overcome challenges to their clean energy transitions from every angle and from every scale: Whether an urban metropolis with a 100% clean energy goal or a remote village powering through extreme weather with microgrid assets, our globally unique capabilities are able to address complex problems and identify pathways to achieve ambitious energy transitions.

Crossfades to a ship steering wheel among ocean waves as a sun begins to rise.

Through our Integrated Energy Pathways research, NREL is helping chart a course to a low-carbon, sustainable energy future.

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