2009 SEAS Seminar Archive

  • November 5, 2009: Advancing Solar Energy at NASA and NREL

    Melinda Marquis, NOAA

    Paul Stackhouse, NASA
    Using NASA Satellite and Model Analysis for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Applications

    This presentation describes the successful tailoring of NASA research data sets to meet environmental information needs of the renewable energy sector. The NASA Earth Science Applied Science program has supported the development of the Surface meteorology and Solar Energy (SSE) web interface (http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/sse) through a project called the Prediction of Worldwide renewable Energy Resource (POWER, http://power.larc.nasa.gov/). The paths of modifying/preparing these data sets for energy applications for the SSE web site are described. These data help engineers, architects, and project analysts develop feasibility studies for renewable energy technology projects, make regional assessments or long-term energy market forecasts. The presentation gives potential future data needs of these types of technologies and explains how NASA data could help contribute to meeting those needs. This is particularly pertinent to the growing needs to develop clean energy sources to achieve energy independence and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

    Manajit Sengupta, NREL
    Solar Resource for Renewable Energy: Current Status and Challenges

    Solar energy is fast becoming an important player in the nation's energy portfolio. To achieve the goal of high solar penetration accurate solar resource assessment and forecasting has rapidly gained in importance in the past few years. NREL has been involved in the US effort for a number of years and has developed tools and methods to address questions posed by the solar energy industry. Current capabilities include measurement, methods and data for various types of resource assessments and validation. They also include the study of resource variability and their potential impact on the grid. This presentation will cover what is currently available at NREL and what we see as current and near term needs. Also covered will be what we are doing to address those needs and areas that will need additional research to meet the challenges.

  • September 3, 2009: Remote Sensing of Wind Energy Resources

    Robert Banta, NOAA
    Neil Kelley, NREL
    Atmospheric Remote Sensing for Improving Wind Energy Technology (9G)

    The atmosphere is a difficult place to do business. Changes in atmospheric properties such as wind speed are difficult to predict on all time scales, and many of the important processes producing the changes are not well characterized. Wind energy is especially problematic, because the relevant activity occurs above the surface, where most of the available measurements have been taken. This lack of measurements at turbine heights is a major issue for the wind energy industry, as described in the Wind Resource Characterization Workshop (January 2008). However, new remote-sensing systems capable of high-quality measurements through the lowest several 100’s of meters of the atmosphere, which have been developed over the past decades, are becoming commercially available. Further, lack of above-surface measurements does not mean that none exist. Field projects using research-grade instrumentation have provided insight into the structure and evolution of these flows. In this talk, we present examples of the kinds of flow, flow changes, and turbulence structures observed in the turbine layer of the atmosphere. The various important needs for wind energy, from hardware design, siting, and forecasting to climatological studies, will be outlined, and then we briefly survey the kinds of instrumentation becoming available. We provide examples of how the new measurement systems can contribute to advancements in each area of need, including the importance of measured atmospheric data for each of the applications.

  • June 16, 2009 - Boulder

    Kathleen Evens, Xcel Energy - SmartGridCity™:A blueprint for a connected,intelligent grid community
    Jim Mollenkopf, CURRENT Group - Smart Grid Overview
    Kathleen Evens discusses today’s electric grid and its limitations, Smart Grid and its benefits, and SmartGridCity – the world’s first full-scale pilot. Her talk also discusses the Smart Grid’s two-way communications, grid monitoring and control, integrated management, and end users. Jim Mollenkopf discusses the basic challenges associated with electric grid operations that motivate the desire for Smart Grid improvements to the nation’s electricity system. His talk covers basic technology approaches to address these challenges and highlight areas for atmospheric science research that impact some innovative market opportunities.

    Kathleen Evens is the project manager of the SmartGridCity™ Mobile Experience at Xcel Energy, a leading combination electricity and natural gas energy company that serves eight Midwestern and Western states. In this role, she is responsible for the oversight, scheduling, staffing, support, and event coordination of the SmartGridCity™ mobile exhibit. Additionally, Kathleen has recently begun giving demonstrations on SmartGridCity™ to a variety of audiences. She has extensive experience in process design and improvement, facilitation, training, and public speaking.

    Jim Mollenkopf serves as Chief Technology Officer of CURRENT Group, a provider of smart grid systems and technology. In this role he is responsible for overall technology strategy, systems architecture and engineering, key technology development, and standards/regulatory issues. He holds 18 patents and has frequently been invited to speak on communications and SmartGrid issues by numerous organizations including multiple IEEE conferences , the US National Science Foundation, the US Federal Communications Commission, and others.

  • March 19, 2009 - Boulder

    Dave Mooney, NREL - Renewable Technology Integration
    Keith Parks, XCEL Energy - System Integration
    David Mooney of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Keith Parks of Xcel Energy discuss renewable energy systems integration of renewable generation. The seminar begins with a primer on utility operations, then proceeds to describe how the variability and uncertainty of renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar, pose challenges to electrical grid operations. The value of improving forecasts of wind and solar radiation, distributed versus bulk power generation, and balancing energy supply and demand, are addressed.

  • February 2, 2009 - Golden

    Dr. Alexander MacDonald - Carbon Dioxide: What is Earth's Point of No Return?

    Director of NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory and Deputy Assistant Administrator for NOAA Research Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes, will talk about climate change, climate sensitivity and the chance for very large temperature increases over land this century.

  • January 21, 2009 - Boulder

    Pascal Storck - 3Tier - Wind Energy Forecasting: How to leverage the strengths of the private sector and the resources of the government labs & centers to accelerate renewable energies

    Bruce Bailey - AWS Truewind - Discussion of Critical Wind Measurement and Instrumentation Issues and Research Priorities to Overcome Barriers to Wind Energy Integration

    Mark Ahlstrom -WindLogics - Perceptions and Realities, Challenges and Risks for Renewable Energy Integration

    Leaders of private companies working in wind energy will present the state of the industry, identify the biggest challenges they face, and discuss how federal labs could most effectively advance wind energy in the U.S. .

  • Wednesday November 19, 2008 - Golden

    Dr. Melinda Marquis - NOAA’s Potential to Help Solve the Climate-Energy Crisis through Renewable Energy Development

    Dr. Stan Benjamin - Challenges and Directions for NOAA’s Weather Modeling and Implications for Renewable Energy

    Dr. Melinda Marquis is a physical scientist in the Research Program Office at the NOAA Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, CO. She joined NOAA in 2007, after serving as Deputy Director for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group 1 technical support unit. Her research interests include the carbon cycle, cryosphere and climate change. Dr. Marquis will provide an overview of recent climate-change observations and projections, which underscore the urgency of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, and how NOAA’s expertise can support the development of renewable energy.

    Dr. Stan Benjamin is a research meteorologist at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. He leads ESRL projects on development of regional and global atmospheric prediction models applied to forecast problems including aviation, severe thunderstorms, winter storms, air quality, and wind energy. ESRL scientists collaborate with colleagues in other parts of NOAA and other laboratories to create real-time operational forecast models. Stan will contrast global vs. regional weather models, and how models are initialized with data from diverse types of observations. He will then describe how upcoming advances in these areas will improve guidance for renewable energy generation potential on time-scales from hours to days to weeks.


  • Thursday October 30, 2008 - Boulder

    Dr. Chuck Kutscher - Renewable Energy: Big Potential and Big Challenges

    An overview of renewable energy growth and potential, as well as a description of some primary science questions that must be addressed to increase the utility, reliability and economic attractiveness of renewable energy. Addresses the specific improvements in forecasts of wind, sunshine and precipitation that would most effectively accelerate increased integration of wind, solar, biomass and other renewables into the current grid, and into the future U.S. Smart Grid. Dr. Kutscher is a Principal Engineer and Manager of the Thermal Systems Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.