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Pacific Northwest National Lab

About Pacific Northwest National Lab

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is focused on DOE's missions in science, energy, environment, and national security. PNNL researchers routinely integrate across fundamental science and applied technology programs, engaging partners across the country to take on big challenges. These efforts also deliver significant economic contributions to Washington State, the Northwest region and the nation. The dedication of our people to push the frontiers of science and engineering in order to solve some of the nation's greatest challenges is a hallmark of PNNL's 50 year history.


PNNL scientists and engineers across multiple disciplines – atmospheric research, modeling, etc. — look to improve the efficiency and environmental impact of wind energy. Wind power research at PNNL includes distributed wind development and testing, plant optimization (A2E), offshore wind R&D, resource characterization, analysis and modeling, and support for DOE’s Wind Vision project.

To support DOE offshore wind demonstration projects, PNNL acquired two LIDAR- equipped ocean buoys that provide cutting edge data on wind resources, as well as monitor key environmental parameters at project sites. One buoy is deployed off Virginia Beach, Virginia with the other is slated for New Jersey shore. Data from these buoys will be used to develop accurate cost models, validate turbine and forecast models, and evaluate plant performance.

PNNL is drawing on its atmospheric science expertise to bring cutting edge science to address wind plant efficiencies. The Atmosphere to Electrons (A2E) project looks at the wind plant scale rather than the individual device scale to identify new efficiencies and opportunities. PNNL's role focuses on modeling tools and data to improve forecasting and prediction of wind resources at timescales useful to power planners and managers.

PNNL is developing software and hardware solutions to better understand and mitigate the environmental challenges associated with offshore wind projects. Through the Wind and Water Power’s Tethys database, PNNL is aggregating and disseminating relevant environmental information associated with offshore wind and providing opportunities for scientists, regulators, and stakeholders to collaborate.


Systems Engineering Lab — This new facility provides state-of-the-art laboratory space and equipment that furthers basic and applied research in electricity markets, generation, transmission, distribution and end use, including buildings-grid integration. The 24,000-square-foot building houses some of PNNL's power grid research.

Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL) — DOE's only marine research laboratory. The MSL, located on Sequim Bay in Puget Sound, offers research capabilities in ecotoxicology, analytical chemistry, wetland and coastal ecology, biotechnology, fisheries, ocean processes, remote sensing, remediation, water resources modeling, plus national and homeland security. The MSL enables sustainable development of ocean energy; the understanding and mitigation of long-term impacts of human activities and climate change on marine resources; and protection of coastal environments from security threats.

Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility — provides scientists from around the world the opportunity to conduct research in a wide range of interdisciplinary Earth sciences. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, ARM offers research users cutting-edge ground and aerial instruments and testing facilities for continuous and long-term studies of the climate. The program's objective is to improve scientific understanding of the fundamental physics of the interactions between clouds and radiative feedback processes in the atmosphere. The facility obtains field measurements and provides archived data products that assist scientific study and improvement of climate models and prediction.

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