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DOE and NREL announce Energy Systems Integration Facility

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) in Golden, Colorado, as the latest Energy Department user facility and the only one in the nation focused 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.

Located at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s campus in Golden, Colorado, the 182,500-square-foot Energy Systems Integration Facility (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.

The Energy Systems Integration Facility is aimed at overcoming generation, transmission, distribution and end-use challenges to support a cleaner, affordable and more secure US energy mix, including research into next generation building technologies, microgrids, energy storage batteries and utility-scale renewable energy.

Congress provided $135 million to construct and equip the user facility. The President’s FY 2014 budget request includes an additional $20 million for facility operations.

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