During a visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., yesterday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz dedicated the new Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), which will help manufacturers, utilities, and public and private sector researchers integrate renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies into the nation’s energy infrastructure.
Speaking at the event, Moniz also laid out the mission of DOE, under his reign. “There’s no question our script comes from the President’s Climate Action Plan,” said the Energy Secretary, who highlighted four key technologies to save energy and reduce carbon emissions: wind, photovoltaic solar, LED lighting, and batteries for EVs.
“In each case, there’s a cost metric that goes down and a deployment metric that goes up,” he said, citing wind as the energy technology with the most new capacity deployed last year. In terms of solar, he said the fact that discussions are becoming more heated about solar and net metering indicates the technology is becoming more relevant. As far as LEDs, he said they offer a tremendous energy savings.
Yesterday’s event included two new announcements related to batteries. The Energy Department, NREL, and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, announced a collaborative research effort on integrating plug-in electric vehicles into the power grid. Scientists and engineers at ESIF and NREL’s Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility will use 20 Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicles from Toyota to develop and explore ways to prepare grid operators and energy infrastructure that accommodate the growing US electric vehicle fleet.
NREL is also working with the US Army to develop the Consolidated Utility Base Energy (CUBE) System – a solar, battery, and generator hybrid power system that provides electricity to forward operating bases. Under a research agreement with Wyle Labs, the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force is funding NREL to complete a prototype CUBE system and validate its performance, reliability, and projected fuel savings through a fully integrated test at ESIF.
“If we look forward, the issue is the challenge of grid integration,” said Moniz. “We have many demands now that will be placed on the system, and there are many more demands that will be placed on the energy system of the future. At the Department of Energy for the next 3½ years, (we’ll be looking at) this issue of energy systems integration. ESIF is one important part of that.”
Finally, Moniz said the Energy Department has created a new organization: The Energy Policy and Systems Analysis organization that will bring together many government agencies for a coherent energy action plan, which will include a quadrennial (every four years) energy review.