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Idaho National Laboratory

About Idaho National Laboratory

Since 1951, Idaho National Laboratory has hosted more than 50 nuclear reactors, making it home to the largest concentration of reactors in the world. Today, the lab works to sustain core technical capabilities and develop innovative solutions that advance nuclear and other clean, smart and secure energy systems.

Advanced wind energy and integration into advanced power systems are core aspects of INL's Renewable Energy Program. INL addresses challenges associated with renewable energy grid integration, mechanical design, reservoir assessment and monitoring, heat transfer, and advanced control systems.

INL's capabilities fall within both distributed and utility-scale wind voucher opportunities.

Capabilities

Transmission line modeling tool suite — Concurrent Cooling methodology enabling dynamic line ratings (DLR) of overhead transmission lines that utilizes computational fluid dynamics (CFD) as an advanced weather based approach. Expertise and tool development in planning & routing of new and existing transmission lines, human factors cognitive psychology, big data analytics, and operator friendly displays for control room applications.

Wind plant design, modeling, commissioning & analysis — Capabilities in planning, analysis, design, maintenance, troubleshooting, and installation of distributed and utility-scale wind plants.

Power systems modeling & analysis — Expertise in planning, analysis, design, maintenance, troubleshooting and installation of industrial power and utility systems.

Microgrid field engineering — Extensive experience designing and deploying renewable-based microgrids. INL researchers analyze available resources, identify effective options, design systems, and assist with installation and maintenance.

Instrumentation, control and intelligent systems design & analysis — Focused on developing components, programs and systems for any application that requires monitoring, control, and human interaction.

Facilities

Real-Time Power and Energy Systems Innovation Laboratory — researchers can investigate just about any dynamic power-related problem an individual might want to solve. Using Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) for hardware-in-the-loop / grid-in-the-loop, researchers at INL can simulate different scenarios that power utilities might face, various energy needs consumers will have, and how renewable energies will interact with the grid. With this "real-world" environment, researchers are able to test and validate hardware using field measurements.

Grid Resilience Test Bed — INL solves national challenges with technology innovation to enhance the resilience and security of the Smart Grid, secure control systems to reduce the threat of cyber-attack, and test physical devices and barriers for protecting substations and transformers from geomagnetic disturbance and ballistic attacks. Resources include an electric grid test bed with a 61-mile, 138-kV dual-fed power loop complete with seven substations and a control center, all linked with state-of–the–art communications and instrumentation capabilities. Portions of the power loop can be isolated and reconfigured for independent, specialized testing.

Test Areas for Dynamic Line Rating — includes 450-plus line miles of high-voltage transmission and medium voltage distribution fully equipped with more than 40 weather monitoring stations in complex terrain. Facilities provide over 2,600 square miles of fully characterized terrain, and access to multiple transmission line right-of-way corridors. Multiple locations in different regions of the state are available through INL owned and operated lines, as well as access to joint research areas owned by industry partners.

Additional Information

INL Renewable Energy Program Homepage