NREL Conduit Blog

The NREL Conduit Blog discusses research relevant to state, local, and tribal governments. Contributing authors provide posts related to events, policy analysis, and decision support outcomes to inform the market in a credible and timely fashion.

NREL Guide Prepares Jurisdictions for Energy-Saving Building Stock Analyses

Feb. 7, 2020 by Laura Beshilas

This blog post covers a recent report from NREL on how jurisdictions that aim to reduce building emissions and increase energy efficiency can prepare for a building stock analysis.

State and Local Planning for Energy Beta Platform Launches

Jan. 3, 2020 by Laura Beshilas and Megan Day

The beta State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE) Platform launched in January 2020, delivering a wealth of energy consumption, efficiency, and renewable energy generation data for state and local governments.

Tackling Energy Poverty with Gender Mainstreaming

Dec. 10, 2019 by Laura Beshilas

This blog post covers a new report from NREL’s Victoria Healy about how gender mainstreaming can be used to counteract energy poverty.

Check the Stack

Oct. 30, 2019 by Jeffrey J. Cook

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, it took 11 months to restore power to all citizens. Hospitals and other critical facilities, such as police stations and water treatment plants, had to close or reduce services in the aftermath of the Category 5 storm, which has been associated with thousands of deaths.

Financing Microgrids that Can Have a Mega-Impact

Oct. 1, 2019

Approximately 1.1 billion people—or 14% of the world population—do not have access to electricity. Of those, more than 84% live in remote or rural areas. Microgrids can offer a viable solution to energy access and related challenges in areas not connected to the main electricity grid where it is too costly to extend the traditional grid.

Floating Solar Photovoltaics Could Make a Big Splash in the USA

July 29, 2019 by Laura Beshilas

A floating solar photovoltaic (FPV) system is an emerging technology in which a solar photovoltaic (PV) system is placed directly on top of a body of water, as opposed to on land or on building rooftops.

Fuel Cell Electric Buses in the USA

June 25, 2019 by Laura Beshilas, NREL

In the United States, the average age of a full-sized transit bus in the United States is 7 years and the average  retirement policy for 40-foot transit buses is 12 years. Therefore, many transit buses in the country are on track to be replaced. Conventional buses have substantial emissions and low levels of fuel efficiency.

Community Energy Storage: A New Revenue Stream for Utilities and Communities?

Sept. 24, 2018 by Kyle Flanegin

Although "it depends" is often the correct answer when asking whether energy storage makes sense in a particular context, utilities are exploring opportunities to incorporate community energy storage (CES) systems into the local grid. Utility-owned CES systems are a collection of two or more battery storage units connected to the low-level transformers that serve houses or small businesses.

Can Low-and-Moderate Income Households Play a Role in Realizing U.S. Rooftop Solar Technical Potential?

Sept. 12, 2018 by Kyle Flanegin

Until recently, the technical potential—or the maximum generation potential from DPV systems—for LMI residential rooftops was not well understood. However, a recent NREL report, “Rooftop Solar Technical Potential for Low-to-Moderate Income Households in the United States” explores this issue by evaluating DPV potential on residential rooftops by income levels.

PV Survivability from Hurricanes: Lessons Learned

Sept. 6, 2018 by Eliza Hotchkiss

Last year, two Category 5 storms, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, ripped through the Caribbean within a two-week period, devastating island communities.  Hurricane Irma hit the U.S. territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) on September 6th, 2017, with the eye passing over St. Thomas and St. John. On September 20th, the eye of Hurricane Maria swept near St. Croix with maximum winds of 175 mph. The USVI estimate uninsured losses at close to $7.5 billion, including damages to roughly 80-90% of the power transmission and distribution systems and a number of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation systems.