A new Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) will be built in Golden, Colorado, sponsored by the Energy Department and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that will focus on utility-scale clean energy grid integration. The facility’s first industry partner – Colorado-based Advanced Energy Industries – has already signed on to start work at ESIF, developing lower cost, better performing solar power inverters.
“Our National Laboratories are a national treasure that help America’s entrepreneurs and innovators to accelerate the development of new technologies,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.“This new facility will allow for an even stronger partnership with manufacturers, utilities and researchers to help integrate more clean, renewable energy into a smarter, more reliable and more resilient power grid.”
The 182,500-square-foot ESIF is the nation’s first facility to help both public and private sector researchers scale-up promising clean energy technologies – from solar modules and wind turbines to electric vehicles and efficient, interactive home appliances – and test how they interact with each other and the grid at utility-scale.
ESIF will house more than 15 experimental laboratories and several outdoor test beds, including an interactive hardware-in-the-loop system that lets researchers and manufacturers test their products at full power and real grid load levels. The facility will also feature a petascale supercomputer that can support large-scale modeling and simulation at one quadrillion operations per second.
“ESIF is an excellent example of the impact that federally-funded research can have on solving national problems beyond the scope of private investment. And, it demonstrates the importance of partnerships among the federal government, industry, and academia,” NREL Director Dan Arvizu said. “With NREL’s 35-year focus on developing competitive renewable energy and efficiency technologies, we’re pleased to take a leadership role in this next frontier of energy research.”
Congress provided $135 million to construct and equip the user facility and the President’s FY 2014 budget request includes an additional $20 million for facility operations.