- The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is working with two companies on a smart city project in Denver, allowing the lab to employ and improve its grid modeling capabilities.
- Panasonic and Xcel Energy are also involved in the development of Peña Station NEXT, which is being billed as an "energy- and health-conscious community built for the next 100 years."
- According to DOE, Xcel Energy "will consider owning and operating the necessary infrastructure to achieve carbon neutrality" as part of the project.
Under the smart-city concept being developed south of the Denver International Airport, Panasonic will test a range of technologies: smart street lighting, a solar parking garage, autonomous shuttles, a microgrid with storage, and others.
For DOE, the project is a chance to test the capabilities of its Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) while demonstrating URBANopt software, a buildings and district energy modeling tool currently under development at NREL.
NREL says ESIF is a "flexible and fully integrated lab space dedicated to testing residential and commercial smart energy technologies."
Juan Torres, NREL's associate laboratory director for energy systems integration, called ESIF "an ideal place for both Panasonic and Xcel Energy to analyze and optimize the project's energy master plan before construction, in a way that benefits all involved."
At the facility, researchers can connect appliances, electric vehicles, a home, or even a community to an "end-to-end energy ecosystem," according to NREL.
The lab is looking to enable a "cost-effective, scalable net-zero development infrastructure that has great potential for replication and adoption across the U.S. in future developments."