The Energy Department’s Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, is the nation's premier facility to help both public- and private-sector researchers scale up promising clean energy technologies and test how they interact with each other and the grid at utility scale.
The 182,500-square-foot facility houses 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. ESIF also features a petascale supercomputer, the fastest in the world dedicated to clean energy research, that supports large-scale modeling and simulation at one quadrillion operations per second.
All of the ESIF’s labs are connected by an electrical distribution bus, which functions as a power integration circuit capable of interconnecting multiple devices that draw or supply power to conduct grid integration experiments and modeling needed to solve grid-related issues associated with high penetration of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. This innovative approach to testing and validating clean energy technologies has earned ESIF the distinct honor of being named R&D Magazine’s 2014 Laboratory of the Year.
ESIF received the award for being a first-of-its-kind research user facility that uniquely merges three very specialized components: an ultra-energy-efficient workplace that consumes 74% less energy than the national average for office buildings, one of the world’s most energy-efficient, high performance computing data centers, and sophisticated high-bay laboratory spaces with outdoor test areas.
The facility brings together both the private and public sectors to develop clean energy technologies with some of the world’s best energy system integration experts. ESIF will help us to shift from an energy economy dependent on carbon to one that dependably unleashes clean energy innovation.