US DOE to open new research center for clean energy grid integration

Artist's rendering of the ESIF (Image courtesy SmithGroup)
The 74,000 square meter facility will include more than 15 laboratories and outdoor test beds

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL, Golden, Colorado, US) will open a new facility dedicated to utility-scale integration of technology including solar photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines and electric vehicles on August 21st, 2013.

Advanced Energy Industries Inc. (AE, Fort Collins, Colorado, US) has been chosen as the first industry partner to use the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF). The 74,000 square meter facility will focus on scaling of clean energy technologies and test how they interact with each other at utility scale.

“Our National Laboratories are a national treasure that help America’s entrepreneurs and innovators to accelerate the development of new technologies,” said US 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.”

First to support private, public sector researchers

Through the ESIF, DOE aims to overcome generation, transmission, distribution and end-use challenges in the integration of clean energy technologies. The agency notes that the facility will be the first in the nation to support both private and public sector researchers in the scaling of promising energy technologies.

ESIF will house more than 15 laboratories and several outdoor test beds, including an interactive hardware-in-the-loop system to allows researchers and manufacturers to test their products at full power and actual grid load levels.

The US Congress approved USD 135 million to construct and equip the facility, and US President Obama's FY 2014 budget includes an additional USD 20 million for facility operations. Construction of the facility was completed in March 2013.

AE to utilize grid simulators to test inverter technology

As ESIF's first industry partner, AE will test its new PV inverter technology with the facility's utility-scale grid simulators and hardware-in-the-loop systems.

DOE notes that AE's inverter technology will help to support a smarter grid that can handle two-way flows of power and communication while lowering hardware costs.



2013-06-24 | Courtesy: Advanced Energy | © Heindl Server GmbH

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