Golden, CO, United States

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

www.nrel.gov
Golden, CO, United States

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory , located in Golden, Colorado, is the United States' primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility, and is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy . This arrangement allows a private entity to operate the lab on behalf of the federal government under a prime contract. NREL receives funding from Congress to be applied toward research and development projects. NREL also performs research on photovoltaics under the National Center for Photovoltaics. NREL has a number of PV research capabilities including research and development, testing, and deployment. NREL's campus houses several facilities dedicated to PV research. Wikipedia.

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News Article | July 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The U.S. Department of Energy 's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has confirmed the technical and economic viability of integrating 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy into India's grid by 2022. Working with the Ministry of Power and USAID - with co-sponsorship from the World Bank (ESMAP) and the 21st Century Power Partnership - NREL; Power System Operation Corporation, Ltd. (POSOCO); and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) produced the study Greening the Grid: Pathways to Integrate 175 Gigawatts of Renewable Energy into India's Electric Grid. The team used advanced weather and power system modeling to answer many questions about how India's electricity grid can manage the variability and uncertainty of India's ambitious 2022 renewable energy target of 175 GW of installed capacity, including 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind, up from 9 GW of solar and 29 GW wind installed today. "With renewable energy auction prices at record lows, an immense amount of renewable energy growth is anticipated to be added to India's power system," said Principal Investigator Jaquelin Cochran, a manager in NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center. "We wanted to provide a systematic way to plan for that. The results of our study can inform policy and regulatory decisions that support system flexibility and renewable energy investment in India." The results demonstrate that power system balancing, where supply of electricity meets the demand, with 100 GW solar and 60 GW wind is achievable with minimal renewable energy curtailment. Curtailment is the amount of renewable energy generated that cannot be used due to grid limitations. India's current coal-dominated power system has the flexibility to accommodate the variability associated with the renewable energy targets. Low-renewable-energy, coal-dominant states can play an important role by implementing operational changes that would facilitate renewable energy integration nationwide. The study used a detailed production cost model to identify how the Indian power system is balanced every 15 minutes, the same time frame used by grid operators. The results reveal operational impacts, such as: The study also evaluated strategies to better integrate renewable energy and demonstrated the importance of policy and market planning. The results of the study indicate that: The results were based on a number of key assumptions the model made about India's power distribution system in 2022, including perfect transmission planning existing within each state, but not necessarily on corridors between states; compliance of all coal plants with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission regulation that coal plants be able to operate at 55% of rated capacity; and perfect load forecasting, so that results would not conflate wind and solar power forecast errors with load forecast errors. "The challenge is harnessing the existing physical flexibility of the power system through appropriate market designs, operational rules, incentive mechanisms, and other regulatory and policy changes," said Sushil Kumar Soonee, coauthor of the report and former CEO of Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO). "Robust planning will be critical to achieving the renewable energy goals set by the Indian government. In parallel with institutional changes, what happens at the state level will require follow-up and investigation. Additional studies will be needed to evaluate transmission and operations planning and generator flexibility as India advances toward its goal over the next five years." Input data, assumptions, and study results were validated extensively by experts from across the Indian power system -- through a multi-institutional modeling team and a broad stakeholder review committee. Technical stakeholder review and guidance were provided by more than 150 technical experts from central agencies; state institutions, including grid operators, power system planners, renewable energy nodal agencies and distribution utilities; and the private sector, including renewable energy developers, thermal plant operators, utilities, research institutions, market operators, and other industry representatives. This is the first volume of a two-part report. The first volume, the National Study, explores high-level trends and considerations from a national perspective. The second volume, to be released later this month, takes a more in-depth look at system operations in the Western and Southern regions. For an overview of the National Study's key findings, policy impacts, and potential actions, read the executive summary. For additional details, visit the website and download the full study. NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy 's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy , LLC.


News Article | July 12, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

India may be able to integrate 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy into their electricity grid by 2022. The U.S. Department of Energy ’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have confirmed the technical and economic viability of integrating the renewable energy into the grid with an advanced weather and power system modeling. “With renewable energy auction prices at record lows, an immense amount of renewable energy growth is anticipated to be added to India's power system,” principal investigator Jaquelin Cochran, a manager in NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center, said in a statement. “We wanted to provide a systematic way to plan for that. “The results of our study can inform policy and regulatory decisions that support system flexibility and renewable energy investment in India.” The researchers found that power system balancing—where supply of electricity meets the demand—with 100 GW solar and 60 GW win is achievable with minimal renewable energy curtailment, the amount of renewable energy generated that cannot be used due to grid limitations. India’s current power system is dominated with coal but has the flexibility to accommodate the variability associated with the renewable energy targets. The researchers identified how the Indian power system production cost model is balanced every 15 minutes, the same time frame used by grid operators. This means that 160 GW of solar and wind capacity can serve 22 percent of India’s power demand and the system can manage the added variability of wind and solar without new, fast-ramping infrastructure. The results were based on a variety of assumptions including a perfect transmission planning existing within each state, compliance of all coal plants with the Central Electricity Regulator Commission regulations that coal plants be able to operate at 55 percent of rated capacity and perfect load forecasting. “The challenge is harnessing the existing physical flexibility of the power system through appropriate market designs, operational rules, incentive mechanisms, and other regulatory and policy changes,” Sushil Kumar Soonee, co-author of the report and former CEO of Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO), said in a statement. “Robust planning will be critical to achieving the renewable energy goals set by the Indian government. “In parallel with institutional changes, what happens at the state level will require follow-up and investigation,” he added. “Additional studies will be needed to evaluate transmission and operations planning and generator flexibility as India advances toward its goal over the next five years.” According to the executive summary, India’s contribution to global efforts on climate mitigation extends to 40 percent non-fossil-based generation capacity by 2030. The study could be viewed here.


Cover for 'A Retrospective Analysis of the Benefits and Impacts of US Renewable Portfolio Standards'. Credit: Berkeley Lab A new study estimates that $2.2 billion in benefits came from reduced greenhouse gas emissions and $5.2 billion from reductions in other air pollution for state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies operating in 2013. The report also shows national water withdrawals and consumption were reduced by 830 billion gallons and 27 billion gallons in 2013, respectively. The report, entitled A Retrospective Analysis of the Benefits and Impacts of U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards, was conducted by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy 's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and evaluates the benefits and other impacts of RPS policies. RPS policies require utilities or other electricity providers to meet a minimum portion of their load with eligible forms of renewable electricity. They currently exist in 29 U.S. states plus Washington, D.C., and have been a driver for renewable electricity generation in the United States over the past decade. Many states are currently considering whether to extend, eliminate, or otherwise revise existing RPS policies. "This work is intended to inform these ongoing discussions by helping states evaluate RPS programs," said Berkeley Lab's Ryan Wiser, one of the report authors. The study takes care to describe its methods and highlights uncertainties in its findings. For example, benefits from greenhouse gas reductions were estimated to range from $0.7 to $6.3 billion, reflecting differences in underlying estimates of damages caused by climate change. Similarly, air pollution reduction benefits—which arise primarily from avoided premature mortality—were estimated to range from $2.6 to $9.9 billion in 2013, reflecting differences in underlying epidemiological literature, among other factors. "Our goal was to estimate the magnitude of RPS benefits and impacts at a national-level, using established methodologies, while recognizing that individual states can perform their own, more-detailed assessments," adds NREL's Jenny Heeter, another of the report's authors. In addition to evaluating environmental benefits, the study also assessed other impacts. Specifically, the research estimates that RPS policies supported 200,000 renewable energy-related jobs in 2013, saved consumers up to $1.2 billion from reduced wholesale electricity prices and another $1.3 to $3.7 billion from reduced natural gas prices. Consumer savings from reduced electricity and natural gas prices occur because renewable electricity displaces other electricity generation with higher operating costs, much of which is fueled by natural gas. The study is careful to describe these as impacts rather than benefits as they represent resource transfers from some stakeholders to others, rather than net societal benefits on state, national, or global scales. This work was a follow-up and complement to an earlier study by the two labs that focused on the costs of state RPS programs to-date and that noted the need for a full understanding of the potential benefits, impacts, and costs of RPS programs. To that end, this most recent study provides a point of comparison for estimates of RPS program costs. Based on the results of this national study, benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions equate to 0.7 to 6.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of renewable energy, while benefits from reduced emissions of criteria air pollutants amount to 2.6 to 10.1 cents per kWh. Consumer savings from wholesale electricity market and natural gas price reductions represent another 0 to 1.2 cents per kWh and 1.3 to 3.7 cents per kWh, respectively. Although the study takes a national view—evaluating all state RPS programs as a whole—many of the associated benefits and impacts were highly regional. For example, the economic benefits from air pollution reductions are associated mostly with reduced sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants and are concentrated primarily in the Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, Northeast, and Texas. Reductions in water withdrawal and consumption were largest in California and Texas respectively—both states that regularly experience droughts—while renewable energy jobs from RPS projects were concentrated mostly in California, where large amounts of utility-scale photovoltaic generation was being built in 2013. Having now examined both the costs and benefits of state RPS programs historically, the researchers are planning a follow-up effort for the coming year to evaluate the costs and benefits of RPS programs prospectively, considering scheduled increases to each state's requirements as well as potential policy revisions.


News Article | March 3, 2016
Site: www.aweablog.org

Oregon just decided to a lot of renewable energy to its electricity mix. Yesterday, the Oregon state senate approved a bill that would increase Oregon’s renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) to 50 percent, while phasing coal out of the state’s electricity mix. Having already passed the house, the bill will now be sent to Gov. Kate Brown, who is expected to sign it into law. The measure firmly establishes Oregon as a renewable energy leader. Vermont, California and Hawaii are the only other states with renewable energy requirements of 50 percent or higher, and Oregon is the first state to officially ban coal via legislative action. The new law, called the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition plan, is also particularly noteworthy because of the diversity of the coalition that supported it. Oregon’s two largest utilities were in favor of the bill, along with business groups, community organizations and environmental advocates. Supporters as varied as Pacific Power and the Sierra Club all advocated for the bill, recognizing the initiative was the in the best interests of all Oregonians. The Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan will have a big effect on carbon emissions. It’s expected that it will reduce carbon pollution by 30 million metric tons, or the same amount as 6.4 million cars’ worth. Here’s what some people are saying in the wake of this historic news. Oregon’s decision to deploy a stronger RPS is a smart choice from a policy perspective. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently examined the effects of state-level RPS policies. Their findings were overwhelmingly positive. State RPS policies resulted in $7.5 billion in annual environmental benefits from reduced air emissions, 27 billion gallons in reduced water consumption annually, $1.3 billion to $4.9 billion in reduced consumer energy prices, and 200,000 American jobs and $20 billion in annual gross domestic product from the renewable energy developed to meet state RPS’s through the year 2013. Hopefully other states will follow Oregon’s lead in the coming months and years. The New York state legislature is also currently mulling a 50 percent renewable energy standard, and similar initiatives may end up of the dockets of state legislatures throughout the country.


News Article | January 6, 2016
Site: www.nature.com

The energy industry has long met demand by varying the rate at which it consumes fuel. Controlling the output of an oil-fired power plant is much like changing the speed of a car — press the accelerator pedal and more gas flows to the engine. But the wind cannot be turned up or down. Smart software can make wind farms more efficient and responsive. Computer models can predict wind speed and control the number and capacity of turbines in operation to meet energy demand. Low-vibration designs and health monitoring would enable turbines to run more smoothly, avoiding expensive failures of gearboxes and other components whose replacement can cost hundreds of thousands dollars and take days. Optimizing renewables requires data: on device performance, energy output and weather predictions, seconds to days in advance. Vast quantities of information are collected by turbine manufacturers, operators and utility companies — yet hidden in their archives1. The information is prohibitively difficult for anyone outside to access. It took me two years of discussions with different energy companies and the signing of several non-disclosure documents to obtain enough data to carry out a study on the performance of wind farms in Iowa, for instance. Wind-turbine data are usually recorded every 10 seconds and averaged over 10 minutes (see 'Poor performance'); getting higher-frequency data involves obtaining permissions from sensor manufacturers. Even basic data such as wind speeds and historical data on turbine operations were initially impossible to obtain. By approaching different partners and developing data-sharing agreements, we eventually gained limited access to wind energy data. The lack of data sharing in the renewable-energy industry is hindering technical progress and squandering opportunities for improving the efficiency of energy markets. I call on the energy industry to follow the examples of defence, commerce and health care and share its data openly so that researchers can design better solutions for powering our planet. There is money to be made. Academic and industrial researchers need first to develop suitable wind-farm management models and prove their value. Software companies can sell energy and weather- monitoring and -predicting systems. Large technology companies such as the Hewlett Packard Enterprise or Google should establish wind-energy divisions for planning and balancing energy across different states and countries, as General Electric has done in wind-turbine manufacturing. Leveraging renewable-energy data makes economic sense for a product — electricity — that is universal. Unlike other commercial industries, energy utilities do not compete on the basis of product quality but on generation and distribution processes and business operations, which are the greatest beneficiaries of big-data mining. Efficient renewable-energy plants equipped with software for accurate power prediction and responsive management will be able to take advantage of real-time, or 'spot', energy prices — supplying more when prices and demand are high and less when they are low. This extra profitability will encourage more firms and utility companies to acquire renewable-energy assets. The renewable-energy industry is awash with data. Wind-turbine manufacturers routinely collect data from hundreds of sensors on experimental and installed devices, measuring, for example, wind speed, oil temperature, vibration and power generation2. Utility companies record similar data from boilers and generators. 'Balancing authorities', usually non-profit, governmental or private organizations, match the expected demand for energy with the production scheduled by utility companies hours ahead of generation. National, state and regional meteorological agencies and weather forecasters accrue radar data and run numerical weather-prediction models every 1–3 hours to produce forecasts and parameters such as wind speed. New sources of data are emerging. The wind industry is experimenting with using sonar and laser-based lidar measurements to anticipate the speed, direction and turbulence of the wind approaching wind farms. Some utility companies fly drones over their farms to check turbine blades and measure wind speeds and directions to improve power prediction and to anticipate fluctuations over minutes to hours. Renewable -energy producers operate in isolation. If industry players pooled their data and monitoring resources, they would all benefit. More-efficient and lower-cost wind-turbine designs could emerge, allowing turbines to last longer and produce more energy, and allowing output to be more accurately predicted. For example, combining data from wind farms in different US states would dramatically improve the accuracy of predicted hourly changes in power production. Experiments that are impossible with a real wind turbine or a farm can be simulated on a digital replica3. Different control strategies can be tested for maximizing and smoothing the energy output. Conditions of components and subsystems could be analysed to lower maintenance costs — the most significant expense of wind-energy generation4. Active control of turbine vibrations could be studied. More stable turbines are less likely to fail and could be run beyond their current upper speed limit (usually around 20 metres per second) to produce more energy. The impact of atmospheric conditions on wind-farm sites and energy production could be studied. Controlling wind turbines with data-driven software could, models show, increase energy production by at least 10%, and gains of 14–16% are possible. Increasing the maximum running speed could easily add another 10%. Wind-farm maintenance costs could be cut by 10% with a data-driven health-monitoring system. Yet the wind industry remains largely oblivious to data science5. A few utility companies are setting up in-house data-analytics teams, but the benefits of working with academic researchers and others are not recognized. Although models and software that do not directly impinge on turbine operations — such as a graphical display of a turbine output — are broadly welcomed, direct interventions are impossible. I have been unable to test control solutions developed in my Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the University of Iowa in any commercial settings. Even public utilities and colleges that own and operate wind turbines ended negotiations once they realized that their insurance and maintenance contracts would have to be modified. Wind-turbine insurance contracts tightly prescribe operating conditions and safety aspects, sometimes requiring turbines to be equipped with specific sensors (such as for tower vibration and rotor speed). Potential for exposing flaws and poor design practices is another obstacle. Manufacturers may not want to reveal performance metrics that are covered by warranty terms or design details that might point to patent infringements. Competition is a worry. Other sectors do better. Defence, commerce and health-care organizations have developed processes for sharing data with the research community while maintaining confidentiality and security. Some have created benchmark data sets to test data-analysis algorithms. Others run competitions to solve specific problems. For example, in 2006, the television- and film-streaming service Netflix offered a US$1-million prize for an improved algorithm to predict rating scores of films. In 2011, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) ran the Round Robin project, in which they shared high-frequency vibration data from a healthy6 and a faulty gearbox with competing teams to discover the most accurate ways to diagnose faults. It has been estimated that the value of the voluntary contributions to the project from the 16 participating teams (including the Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the University of Iowa) was worth between $2 million and $3 million. Non-disclosure agreements outlining the specifics of data sharing and results dissemination are used in data-intensive projects. Consumer-goods company Proctor & Gamble, for example, reveals information about a product (a new shampoo or a shaver, for instance) early in the design stage to potential customers, whose feedback improves the final design. On social-media platforms such as Facebook, users determine the scope of information sharing. The renewable-energy industry should adopt similar practices. First, it needs to decide which data can be shared and at what risk. Wind speed and direction, for example, could be released given that anyone could measure them. Although data on the real-time energy output of an entire wind farm should be rightfully protected for competitive reasons, sharing power produced by one or a few turbines would not compromise business value. When necessary, data could be transformed or anonymized; for example, by reporting relative percentage changes rather than absolute power values. Wind-energy associations in Asia, Europe, South America and North America should facilitate the data-sharing discussion. A summit of these players should define a path to open-access data as follows. First, make all renewable-energy stakeholders aware of the problems and of the benefits of data sharing. Invite representatives from other manufacturing and service industries to present their data-sharing practices. Second, develop data-sharing protocols and governance structures. US Department of Energy laboratories such as the NREL and Sandia National Laboratories could lead this effort because they collect renewable-energy data from some wind-farm operators for their own studies. Collecting data at higher frequencies (in some cases), at fraction-of-a-second intervals, from more utility companies and facilitating open access to them would be the next step. Although data collection should ideally be global, in reality, most useful results would be regional. Third, develop a data-and-knowledge sharing platform for renewable energy. Stakeholders must decide how the data are to be assembled and pre-processed for use by the research community and industry. Ideally, data would flow out to the research community and research results in the form of new models, algorithms, design solutions and other results would flow in. The vast majority of the results produced by the research community would remain open to review, scrutiny, future use and benchmark studies. Industry could retain ownership of the internally generated results as well as those produced by research contracts. This long-awaited engagement will generate new science and greatly benefit renewable-energy companies, energy-equipment manufacturers and society by bringing more clean energy at a lower price.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.93K | Year: 2015

Rechargeable lithium ion battery systems can provide power throughout the aircraft, including engine or Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) starting, avionics, emergency, and other systems. Because of their high specific energy/power and potential thermal instability, they can present hazards if improperly designed, tested, handled, or stored. To address the thermal safety issue of Li-ion batteries, EIC Labs, in collaboration with National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is working on the development of safe, large-format aircraft Li-ion batteries where thermal propagation of an overheated cell to neighboring cells or group of cells is prevented by novel thermal management technologies.


News Article | January 24, 2016
Site: www.topix.com

In the research projects it conducts and in the way it conducts research, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, lives out the true meaning of its energy-efficient creed. In this way, NREL, one of the U.S. Department of Energy 's national laboratories, is that rarest of entities: a preacher of virtue that incorporates virtue into its daily life.


Cochran J.,National Renewable Energy Laboratory | Mai T.,National Renewable Energy Laboratory | Bazilian M.,National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2014

We provide a meta-analysis of several recent analytical studies that evaluate the possibility, operability, and implications of high levels of renewable sources of electricity (RES-E) in power systems. These studies span different geographic regions, rely on a range of analytical methods and data assumptions, and were conducted with differing objectives. Despite the differences, these studies share some common conclusions, one of which is that renewable energy resources can play a large role in future power systems. Moreover, most of the studies address aspects of integrating these resources into system operations, and all of them conclude that RES-E can supply, on an hourly basis, a majority of a country's or region's electricity demand. We compare the analytic approaches, data inputs, and results in an effort to provide additional transparency and information to policy makers. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Document Keywords (matching the query): renewable energy resources, renewable energy, renewable sources, renewable energies, energy scenarios.


Dillon A.C.,National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Chemical Reviews | Year: 2010

Carbon multiwall nanotubes (MWNTs) and single-wall nanotubes (SWNTs) may be employed to improve upon photoconversion and electrical energy storage technologies. Carbon nanotubes have also been employed in PV devices to improve both exciton generation as well as transport of photoexcited carriers. Every SWNT can be considered to be a unique molecule, with different physical properties, depending on its indices, where the chiral vector magnitude denotes the nanotube circumference. The chiral angle is measured between the roll-up vector and the zigzag axis. Carbon multiwall nanotubes have electronic properties similar to those of graphite and are thus semimetals. Similar to SWNTs, a continuous low-cost production method producing MWNTs that are easily purified is required for MWNTs to be incorporated in emerging technologies. Other forms of nanographitic carbons may also prove promising in the development of next-generation renewable energy devices.

Document Keywords (matching the query): renewable energy resources, energy storage, electrical energy, renewable energy devices.


Oh H.,National Renewable Energy Laboratory
IEEE Transactions on Power Systems | Year: 2011

It is difficult to forecast renewable energy resources due to their variability. High uncertainty of the resources increases the concern about the reliable operation of the electric power system. Storage devices have been considered a candidate to control variable energy resources, and most studies on storage devices are performed in the economic dispatch. Therefore, electric power adequacy may be an issue. In this paper, a new approach in the optimal power flow framework is proposed for deploying storage devices, and the feasibility and economic impact analyses are discussed. © 2011 IEEE.

Document Keywords (matching the query): renewable energy resources, variable energy resources.

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