Grid Systems Integration

NREL's technical experts optimize wind energy systems for high-penetration renewable energy grids, autonomous energy grids, and next-generation wind-hybrid power systems.

Graphic of wind turbine and solar panels.

At the Flatirons Campus, NREL combines advanced research techniques with real-world operations and planning experience to develop technological solutions for improved grid stability and power system resilience. Our Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform offers our partners in industry and academia access to a virtual emulation environment powered by NREL's 8-petaflop supercomputer. NREL's unique renewable energy expertise allows our team to identify, anticipate, detect, protect against, and respond to today's—and tomorrow's—biggest threats to the energy grid.

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See a summary slide deck of NREL's wind-energy-related grid systems integration capabilities, research, and projects for land-based and offshore wind. Explore more below.

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Optimal Grid Planning and Operation

NREL works with university researchers, utilities, transmission system operators, and power system stakeholders to enable seamless integration of large amounts of wind power into the nation's power grid.

Areas of Expertise

  • Grid integration studies
  • Probabilistic planning
  • Solutions for operational challenges of weak grids
  • Optimal infrastructure utilization

Wind Plant Controls and Grid Stability Research

NREL provides new analytical tools and testing methods at scale to evaluate stability impacts of wind power plants. We are developing advanced control functions to improve the grid's ability to absorb very high amounts of wind energy while also lowering the cost of grid integration.

Areas of Expertise

  • Power systems and advanced controls
  • Dynamic behaviors of power grids with high penetrations of wind
  • Technological solutions for improved grid stability
  • Testing methods for utility-scale applications
  • Short-circuit currents and impacts on grid protection

Wind Hybrid Systems

NREL conducts world-class research that spans different hybrid wind energy systems, from thermal to electric, including integration with advanced transportation systems, hydrogen-based power and fuel systems, and thermal management systems that integrate with advanced energy storage options.

Areas of Expertise

  • Controls research for multiple technologies
  • Integrated energy resource assessments and forecasting
  • Microgrids and autonomous energy systems
  • Optimal infrastructure utilization for integrated energy systems

Cybersecurity and Resilience

In addition to improving our current understanding of both human-caused and natural energy service disruptions, NREL technical experts are working to develop intrinsic security design principles for a future intelligent, distributed grid in which millions of interconnected devices can automatically detect and respond to threats.

Areas of Expertise

  • Malicious threats to wind turbines and power plants
  • Cyber-energy emulation and visualization of wind systems
  • Automated intrusion detection
  • Automated threat response with autonomous energy systems